Talking to men about suicide prevention

Talking to men about suicide prevention

Check your engine!
Talking to men about suicide prevention

By Cynthia A Sheehan

Quebec City’s Suicide Prevention Center launched this week a new social media campaign aimed at men in their 30’s and 40’s called “”.  It uses indicators on a car’s dashboard to tell men that it might be time to take care of themselves. I had a chat Suicide_preventionwith Véronique Brunet of Egzakt, the marketing firm based in Trois-Rivières that designed the campaign, to get the details of how this campaign came to be.

The Suicide Prevention Center wanted to target middle-agish men, a notoriously difficult age group to reach for mental health issues. “They don’t usually ask for help and are not compelled to use official health services. That’s why campaigns like these usually target their friends and families rather than try to talk to them directly” Véronique explains. “We had to find a way to get through using their own words, their own universe. We went through every male-infused environment we could think of (hunting, hockey, boxing…) before selecting automobiles”.

“Cars have universally recognised warning signs that tell you that something is wrong, we wanted to show that men also have internal warning signs and they need to pay attention to them.” says Véronique. Faces of ordinary men next to various dashboard indicators (check battery or engine) with questions like “Running low on energy?” make for a powerful message.
Cars are also all about performance. Something men know a lot about. “When something is wrong with their car, men don’t hesitate to see a specialist (a mechanic) to keep things running smoothly” adds Véronique. “We wanted to say that they can see a specialist for themselves too.” The campaign will run until February, culminating with the National Suicide Prevention Week, Feb 2-8, 2014. is the first part of a larger campaign “Et moi, comment ça va?” (How am I doing?) that promotes suicide prevention across all ages.

Categories: Opinion

About Author

Cynthia A. Sheehan

Cynthia A. Sheehan grew up in a bilingual family in Quebec City. She teaches entrepreneurship and management at FSA Laval and is working on many projects including a book on entrepreneurship and the organisation of the TEDxQuébec. You can follow Cynthia on Twitter @SheehanCyn.

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