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Ad of the Day: Sandy Hook Promise focuses on mental health as kids return to school

The kids are not all right. After a year of trauma caused by the ongoing pandemic, 70% of teenagers are now struggling with mental health concerns. As a result, one in four are now considering suicide, which is now the second-leading cause of death among teenagers.

Across America, schools have been closed nationwide since the pandemic took hold and they won’t be open again until the fall. Concerned that children will struggle to readjust when schools reopen after the trauma of the last year, Sandy Hook Promise has partnered with BBDO New York on ‘The Kids Are Not Alright’.

A series of three short videos – ‘How to Overload a Circuit’, ‘How to Make a Homemade Bomb’ and ‘How to Perform a Disappearing Act’ – each PSA reflects the anxiety, isolation, pressure, boredom and incessant information overload that teenagers are experiencing.

“We may think kids are resilient, but the truth is – the kids are not alright,” explains Nicole Hockley, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise, on why the charity is not only targeting youth violence from shooting but also suicide and self-harm.

While mental health challenges are not necessarily a precursor of suicide or violent attacks in schools, there is a correlation to extreme emotional distress that should be taken seriously, Sandy Hook Promise argues.

“More youth are struggling with mental health issues and heightened depression and anxiety as a result of the pandemic. And it’s our responsibility to listen to them, support and protect them,” says Hockley.

The national call to action is devised to help parents and caring adults learn the signs of a child in emotional distress, so they can get help before it‘s too late.

‘The Kids Are Not Alright‘ is the latest in a series of ‘Know the Signs‘ short film PSAs by Sandy Hook Promise and BBDO New York. In 2019, ‘Back-To-School Essentials‘ went viral and won the 2020 Outstanding Commercial Emmy. Starting off cheery like a familiar back-to-school ad, the spot slowly unfolds to highlight students using everyday back-to-school items to survive a shooting.

That followed award-winning ‘Evan’, viewed over 100 million times, and the Emmy-nominated ‘Point of View’, which both reinforced that there are proven preventative solutions, including its Know the Signs programs.

You can watch the three films in the ‘The Kids Are Not Alright’ campaign in full above. To get in touch about Ad of the Day, please email imogen.watson@thedrum.com.

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