CDC 2011 National Conference on Health Communication,Marketing, and Media, August 9-11, Atlanta, GeorgiaTitle:
Real Warriors: Leveraging the Role of Social Media and Partnerships in Health Communications
Jill Herzog, Program Manager, Real Warriors Campaign (Booz Allen Hamilton)
1) Participants will be able to apply best practices for communicating positive aspects of seekingtreatment for psychological health concerns, and to exemplify various, successful creative conceptsthat resonate with service members and their families, allowing them to feel comfortable seekingappropriate psychological health treatment and care.2) Participants will identify how to integrate social marketing theories and social media tools into publiceducation campaigns, targeting hard-to-reach populations, including active-duty service membersand members of the National Guard and Reserve, and how to effectively measure the impact of social media tools and techniques in the context of a larger, integrated strategic communicationsprogram.3) Participants will be able to apply best practices in developing a measurement framework for organizational social media outreach, including which metrics to track, how to track them and how tointerpret them. Most importantly, they will learn to make the data valuable for media outreach,sustainability impact and stakeholder buy-in.4) Participants will identify how a public education campaign can successfully use partnerships to reachthe military community with messages encouraging service members and veterans to seektreatment for psychological health concerns.5) Participants will identify how they can utilize free and readily available Real Warriors Campaignmaterials and resources, including the campaign’s new mobile site, more than seventy five (75)articles, twelve (12) Real Warrior’s profiles, and an online confidential chat feature, to help servicemembers and families know they are not alone and encourage them to seek appropriatepsychological health care or treatment.
While speaking about President Obama’s initiative to strengthen military families in February 2011, FirstLady Michelle Obama said that the “battles of military families and our troops continue. The residualeffects of deployments go on and on for a lifetime.”Although current military conflicts have lower casualty rates than previous wars, many service membersare returning from deployments with invisible wounds such as psychological health concerns andtraumatic brain injuries. While it has been proven that the risk of combat stress or depression increaseswith each deployment, many service members do not seek treatment, citing perceived bias, fear of discrimination, and distrust of the system as barriers to seeking care.In May 2009, the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury(DCoE) launched the Real Warriors Campaign, a multimedia public education initiative designed toencourage help-seeking behavior among service members and veterans with invisible wounds. Thecampaign features video profiles and PSAs of individuals who reached out for help to demonstrate thateffective treatments work and to educate service members and families about available resources.Prior to the campaign’s launch, in-depth focus groups and one-on-one interviews were conducted withsenior military leaders and service members from each military branch. The findings helped guidedesigning messaging, establishing partnerships, and selecting appropriate communications tools. Thecampaign uses social media networks, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Troop Tube, andtraditional media channels to reach service members, and measures the effectiveness of these effortsusing numerous tools, including Google Analytics, Vocus, TwitterAnalyzer and Facebook's Insights.The campaign’s traditional media outreach secured daily coverage of its PSAs in 177 countries, includingIraq and Afghanistan, reaching 1.5 million members of the military community weekly. The PSAs have