Young people are notoriously difficult to talk to about serious issues such as health, as any teachers and doctors will tell you. It’s difficult enough to try and teach some people anything, especially if they show a genuine lack of interest and willing to learn, but when you try and teach certain people about important (literal) life and death issues, it can be hard to get them to take what you’re saying seriously.
With some people, you have to use the “scare ‘em” tactic, whereby you show the worst-case scenario, a method used by the NHS in an attempt to get people to quit or avoid smoking. Others are better off learning from experts during campaigns. Hearing Awareness Month, for example, targets people who may or may not be aware that there is an ongoing issue with their hearing, and encourages them to either take advantage of the free tests on offer in hearing centres around the country, or to try something that will improve their standard of living, such as a hearing aid.
Awareness campaigns are a great way of spreading a message and making a topic seem interesting, especially when they’re supported by certain famous individuals or when they relate to something close to someone’s heart. Some topics, such as cancer, are the kind that go one of two ways. You either captivate the audience because it is filled with people who might have been directly or indirectly affected by the condition; or you fail to make them take the subject seriously because they take the “it’s not relevant to me stance.”
However, as shown with hearing impairments, there are four million people who don’t have hearing aids would benefit from using them.. The same could be true with any health condition meaning that awareness campaigns are an important way of spreading the message and encouraging people to get themselves checked out.
The recent ‘Stoptober’ campaign was put in place to encourage people to give up smoking, and every year more and more people get involved. The idea was to show people that they can give up for the whole 31 days, and having done that, encourage them to give up permanently. Studies have shown that people who give up smoking for 28 days are five-times more likely to give up for good, and nearly 250,000 people took part in this year’s campaign.
Arguably one of the most famous campaigns, particularly in the UK, is ‘Movember’, where men grow moustaches for charity in order to raise awareness of prostate and testicular cancer, again, encouraging people to get themselves checked out. This campaign started in Australia in 2003 and has since gone on to become a global event, reaching as far afield as Brazil, showing that building awareness of something is almost certainly the best way to spread the word and doing so in a fun way gets more people on board.
Ella Mason, an experienced freelance writer, wrote this article. Ella specialises in providing useful and engaging advice to small businesses. Follow her on Twitter @ellatmason