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Teen Health 411

Provocative Campaign on Childhood Mental Illness

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Well, I never thought I would say this, but I wish I lived in New York this month. Apparently the Child Study Center is running some amazing ads about autism, depression, ADHD, bulimia, OCD, and Asperger's syndrome that are really catching the attention of people. The goal of the campaign featuring "ransom notes" is to raise awareness about the epidemic of childhood mental illness and the 12 million children suffering with disorders.

The campaign suggesting that a disease has kidnapped a child is perceived as negative by some people who fear the ads will reinforce stereotypes versus increase awareness. Advocates suggest that the ads have to be intense to make people listen - these are real diseases and denial is not going to help. The campaign is being produced pro bono by BBDO, an Omnicon agency, and the public service announcements are running in New York Magazine and Newsweek as well as on kiosks, billboards and construction sites around New York.

We will see if the ad campaign continues or gets shut down by patient advocacy groups, but I say bring it to California!

Photo credit: phillip broadway
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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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