Never a Bother shines bright with GOLD and SILVER at the 2024 SMANA Social Marketing Awards!

Jul 8, 2024  |  By Civilian  |  

For a campaign as urgent and life-saving as youth suicide prevention, it’s vital to not only consult with youth but also co-create with them. Involving diverse youth ensures their voices are reflected and that the campaign can engage and maintain their attention.

That was the reality of our Never a Bother campaign for the California Department of Public Health’s Office of Suicide Prevention. Our Civilian team engaged over 400 youth between the ages of 16 and 25 in its creation, from establishing a Youth Advisory Board to giving them options for curating the campaign’s Spotify playlist, contributing to the design of the website, and more. 

They guided us on the messaging, look and feel, and naming of the campaign. (Believe us, they did not hold back and let us know whenever anything that was too “cringe.”) They told us what they need from the people in their lives, and how validation of their feelings and emotions is key. They told us their stories of helping themselves and their friends during a crisis, and how important it was for them to know — and let others know — they are never a bother. They were with us when we launched the campaign in April. And we follow best practices by paying them for their valuable time and insights. 

We redefined what it means to co-create a youth campaign. We set a new standard not only for state campaigns but also for smaller initiatives — namely when it comes to authentically engaging with, creating safe spaces for, and building trust with youth.

So after all this hard work, it was gratifying to win two awards for Never a Bother, just a couple months after launch: a gold and a silver at the 2024 SMANA (Social Marketing Association of North America) Social Marketing Awards. 

SMANA is an organization dedicated to individual and societal well-being through positive behavior change, serving the U.S., Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, and Central America. Its Social Marketing Awards honor excellence in campaigns that drive beneficial change. 

Thank you to our Youth Advisory Board, every participant in our youth focus groups, the Center at Sierra Health Foundation, the 34 community-based and Tribal partners working on this initiative across the state, our hardworking Civilian team for their dedication and perseverance, and the California Department of Public Health’s Office of Suicide Prevention for their trust and partnership. And to the many youth across the state who are seeing and interacting with our campaign. You are never a bother!  

Together, we’re making a difference. Let’s keep the conversation going and continue to support our youth before, during, and after a crisis, making sure they know they’re never a bother. Make sure they know we’re here to listen and help.Check out Never a Bother’s website and follow us on social — on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and Facebook — to see even more great youth-created content. And remember, if you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, call or text 988 to get help 24/7.

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