Treating depression with something other than drugs.

(This is kind of a rant and kind of a marketing idea.)

So. Here’s the deal. I would imagine in some form or fashion pretty much everyone has been depressed at some point. On top of that I assume tortured souls like me have wavered into the true depression defined space on occasion. And then I assume there are truly the people who don’t waver but reside in a depression state (and I assume that would suck to unimaginable levels having lightly stepped into that space myself). Anyway. I say all that because I fear that marketing/advertising is dangling a message in front of people that may not be what I think is best for people.

What do I mean? Well. That drugs are the answer. I see TV ad after TV ad that plays on the stages of depression (and because many people probably weave their way through one or more of those characteristics at one time or another I imagine if you run enough TV ads you are going to snare a moment in time when all of a sudden that drug looks awful appealing).

And. Having played around with this marketing thing I do understand that you cannot get the drug without actually talking to someone so the true intent of the campaign is to get you to talk to the gatekeeper (a psychiatrist…or psychologist…I cannot keep track of who is who but I do know it’s not a philosopher) but I am not so sure I like this “pull through” strategy. I would like to think that drugs would actually be the last option rather than THE option. But hey. I am not a doctor and I have never talked to a doctor about it. Regardless. I have my opinion. And my opinion is that I would start treatment by talking. Talking to a professional (not just your friends…but I would hope that at some point when you are talking to your friends they would suggest talking to a professional if they truly felt like you needed it) Anyway.

I admit. I hate all this drug advertising (although the legal disclaimers are slightly amusing…death, 4 hour erections, vomiting, etc.). I hate most of it because it isn’t offering the correct solution. Ok. There is one campaign out there that says something about “don’t be afraid to talk with your doctor” but I believe it is for erectile dysfunction for god’s sake. (although I guess you could argue that not being able to “get it up” creates depression).

The Idea (Part 1):

I would love it if all the drug companies would pool their money and do a campaign telling people to visit professionals more often. And then if they want to market their products to professional/doctors (which they do anyway) go ahead.

But. Create campaigns that get more people to go to doctors. And in this case, with depression, I am talking about psychiatrists (which I could argue the majority of people have no clue what they do or how they do it). Maybe even suggest they will pay for the first visit. Gosh. How many people do you think would visit a psychiatrist if someone ran a campaign that said “hey look, if you have any of these types of thoughts go visit a psychiatrist just to see what’s up…we will pay for the 30 minute consulting discussion.”? Awesome. So. That’s not really my idea but it seems viable to think about.

The Idea (Part 2):

So. I have a tactical campaign idea. And, of course, because this is my site and I can say whatever it is I want to say, I am gonna tell you that idea. To be honest I didn’t really think long and hard about what I would do if I was a marketing guy in this category. This one was simply a “wow, I need to write that idea down” type inspiration. It was a song that was on my running mp3 player (sorry. I don’t have an i-pod) that just kinda hit me as I was running.

So let’s call this a song which inspired a possible marketing campaign.

The song is Beautiful Tomorrow by a band called Blue Six.

If I could get the American Psychiatry Association (assuming there is one and I shouldn’t be talking about psychology instead…cause I can’t tell them apart) I would play them this song and say I could build a direct response TV and internet campaign around this song.

Great combination of relevant words, messaging and music. Powerful combination. If you listen to this song just ignore the first stanza and then go from there. I would imagine it says almost exactly what a group of psychiatric professionals who would like to speak to people who need someone to talk to (depression included) would want to say.

I like this idea for several reasons.

  1. Blue Six, probably not inspired by marketing psychiatry, created a lyrically powerful song that encourages talking before drugs or anything else. Talking and communicating is powerful. I don’t think we do enough of it.
  2. Music is a powerful way of communicating a message – literally and figuratively
  3. I like campaigns that encourage the right things rather than a possible solution (which may be good but I would like to believe is the last option)
  4. I like campaigns that are slightly unexpected (so I wouldn’t have to put a bunch of psychiatrists on film talking about couches and feelings and stuff like that).

Someone should think about it. This idea is for free. And if it helps people talk about what’s getting them down so we, as a group of people, can start going back up, then I believe it will be worth its weight in gold.

Written by Bruce