The University of Michigan launched its own Real Men Real Depression
(RMRD) campaign recently, becoming the first university to customize
and implement NIMH's national educational outreach program. Almost
every part of the university participated in developing the campus-wide
effort, including the Office of the Dean of Students, the U-M Depression
Center, the Division of Student Affairs, the University Health
Service, University Housing and student groups.
The NIMH/Michigan collaboration began a year ago, following NIMH's
presentation of the campaign at an annual conference in Ann Arbor.
Over several months, the two organizations designed a plan to bring
the materials and the message, "It Takes Courage To Ask for Help," to
campus. The university ran ads in campus shuttles; aired public
service announcements on the campus cable station; displayed posters
in central, high-traffic areas; distributed booklets and co-branded
trifolds throughout campus; and blanketed dining areas in residence
halls with campaign tent cards.
Michigan has created a sophisticated evaluation plan, including
focus groups and an online survey. It plans to relaunch the campaign
in the fall and hopes to develop a program for other universities
across the country.
Students across campus talked about the high visibility of the
campaign. "It was everywhere," said one. A student mental health
advocate and organizer of the campaign recalled: "My friend saw
me putting up the table tents.and said that already he's had all
these conversations with people and thinks it's cool that there's
something about men's issues."
RMRD was launched in April 2003 to respond to a growing awareness
that depression in men is overlooked and undiagnosed. The NIMH
campaign features real people, not actors, telling their personal
stories of how depression affected them. One was a college student,
who happened to be enrolled at Michigan. Today, Rodolfo Palma-Lulión
still lives in Ann Arbor and now works for the university. His
face and story were prominently featured in the U-M campaign, and
he was interviewed for a documentary put together by the Division
of Student Affairs and the Depression Center.
For more information on U-M's implementation of the campaign,