Institute of Living / Hartford Hospital

Overview Traditional pr/social/experiential

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One of the obstacles to treating more of the mentally ill is linked to the fact that no one talks about it if they’re suffering from it. Even worse, those who suffer from it don’t seek help for it because they’re ashamed of having it. The shame, we believe, stems from how society talks about this devastating affliction. So when Hartford Hospital wanted to raise awareness (and money) for their mental health facility, Institute of Living (IOL), we used these insights to educate the public on the effect certain words had on the mentally ill in an effort to stop the stigma.


Through an integrated campaign that maximized social media, billboards, print ads and PR outreach, we created a strategic platform that showcased negative words associated with describing mental illness. And then quickly explained that they’re hurtful…and showed how people could eliminate them from everyday conversations.

To ensure impact and increase engagement, we:

  1. Urged people to “stop the stigma” and take a pledge to stop using hurtful words that further victimize the mentally ill and prevent them from seeking treatment. To make it easy, the pledge was posted on Harford Hospital’s website where people could text, like or submit their name as a move to do something about it.
  2. Released the campaign a few weeks in advance of the Black & Red Gala, Hartford Hospital’s premier fundraising event, in which all proceeds this year would go to benefit Institute of Living (IOL) which provides services for the mentally ill.


  • 10,000 took the pledge to stop the stigma as a result of the campaign
  • More than $1,000,000 raised at Hartford Hospital’s Black & Red Gala