Mind your Mind!

Faster Horses has undertaken numerous health related studies recently for government departments, hospitals, broader community health based organisations including aged care and for commercial organisations. 

Increasing demand for a focus on mental health

We are finding an increasing demand among consumers for a focus on mental health and wellbeing, as well as physical health and wellbeing. We are seeing this more specifically, but not confined to, either ends of the age spectrum – among older people who are receiving age care services and among teens and young twenties. Surprisingly given this trend, we are also still seeing that there is a stigma associated with mental health, which results in less funding being channelled in this direction. This is counter to the demands of consumers.

Aged Care lacks in mental health space

At the older end of the scale, there is a realisation that mental health and wellbeing is inextricably linked to physical wellbeing, and that aged care providers need to place more emphasis on mental health than has been the case in the past. Not only are the elderly demanding this, but so are their families. The industry has not yet met this need and tends to focus primarily on the physical sides of health – there is a large gap in meeting expectations in this regard. Our data from the Inside Aged Care Report 2020 shows that only 34% of people in Australia believe that aged care organisations focus on enhancing the mental health of those in their care … and 35% actively disagree with this statement.

Teenagers are well informed

At the younger end of the scale, teenagers and young twenties are very focussed on a holistic view of health. It appears that education in this space is highly developed in schools and is driving this awareness. The teens that we have spoken to as part of our research studies are very in touch with the issue of mental health, and very supportive of and open with others who have mental health issues. This has seen an enormous uptake in apps such as Calm and 10% Happier, which aim to rebalance and refocus the mind through meditation.

Collaboration in health care is critical, irresepctive of age

In addition to the greater holistic focus, the younger cohort also demands far more collaboration and inclusion when it comes to discussing their health – they want to be integrally involved in the health decisions impacting them. This is not the generation that will simply accept what they are told and adhere to it as their grandparents may have done. They question and want to understand their position, debate their treatment options and work out a solution that is bespoke and which works for their bodies, circumstances and cultural requirements.

What does this mean for marketing?

This tells us that for marketers in the health space:

  1. There is a need to recognise that every body is different, and that a range of options need to be presented to people for consideration.
  2. That messaging needs to tap into both mental and physical benefits to optimise traction.
  3. And importantly there is a need to recognise how empowered and informed younger consumers are in their own health journeys – it is critical to include them in the conversations around health and give them the ability to make their own decisions by equipping them with knowledge.

While a simple message, taking a holistic, collaborative view is essential in getting traction in this space.

This article was featured in iab’s Member Q&A Series, published 8 October 2020.