15 Times Series: Seize The Awkward (2018)

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This is the second of 15 show-stopping communication campaigns created to raise awareness and catalyse change around significant public issues.

Created in partnership with the Ad Council, Seize the Awkward was the brainchild of Droga5, The Jed Foundation (JED) and The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Talking about mental health issues has been a historically taboo subject, though Seize the Awkward uses that truth to its advantage through a character named Awkward Silence. The character pops up in numerous situations to demonstrate to those age 16-24 that reaching out and talking to a friend who might be struggling with their mental health could feel awkward, but it can really help.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death amongst young adults. Young adulthood is a critical time in a person’s life where they experience great stress from multiple life changes like leaving high school, moving from home and beginning college. It’s also a time when mental health issues frequently emerge. The friends of those struggling with mental health issues can be incredibly influential in helping them get the help they need when they need it.

76% of young adults will turn to a peer in a time of crisis for support. This generation is ready to crack open the cultural conversation about mental health, but they’re missing the language to do it. This is what Seize the Awkward was looking to tap into.

The campaign aims to encourage and empower young adults to reach out to a friend who may be struggling with their mental health. By leveraging moments of vulnerability in their friendships, they can create a safe space for their friends to open up about mental health.

Campaign assets drive to SeizeTheAwkward.org and @Seizetheawkward on Instagram, which provides various resources for young adults, such as tutorial videos, information on warning signs, conversation starters, and tips on how to sustain a conversation around mental health.

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