Launching the largest-ever free mental health initiative in UK state secondary schools


Govox

One in 14 children have attempted suicide by the age of 17. Govox wanted to do something to help address this shocking figure. 

Govox offers a mental health support platform for schools, universities, sports clubs and other organisations, that has the ability to identify those who are silently suffering from mental health problems – helping to pinpoint those who are at ‘high risk’ so they can get the help that they need.  

Govox was already used by a number of independent schools across the UK, proving that the platform is effective for children – but there was little awareness of it amongst parents and the state school sector. There was also a barrier insofar as many state schools do not have the budget for a paid solution to the issue of mental health.

The idea was bold and simple – we suggested that Govox offers its platform completely free of charge to 1,000 state secondary schools across the UK (around a quarter of all secondary schools in the country). 

In order to demonstrate the need for the platform, we dug into ONS figures on teen suicide and uncovered that, shockingly, there has been a 50% increase in the past decade – something which had barely been reported on in media. 

To get the launch on the national news agenda, we engaged MP Bim Afolami, Conservative Party Vice Chairman for Youth, demonstrating to him the seriousness of the issue. We were in turn able to gain the support of the Education Secretary (who provided a quote) and the Prime Minister, and even had the programme raised during Prime Minister’s Questions in Parliament. We partnered with a range of organisations including Local Mind to add further credibility to the launch. 

We undertook extensive print and online media relations, and created a broadcast media package, working with a local school to offer a suitable location as well as interviews with a range of spokespeople and experts. To add a tail to the campaign, we then put a focus on more in-depth feature/profile pieces on Govox’s founder, as well as regional engagement, calling on schools in specific cities across the UK to sign up.

The campaign garnered widespread media coverage – a total of 145 print, online and broadcast pieces including news pages coverage in a range of national media including The Telegraph, The Times, The Independent, Evening Standard and Mail Online. We were also able to secure more detailed, feature/profile pieces on the founder/company in Metro and The Independent. We placed the broadcast package with Sky News, which broadcast from the school throughout the morning of launch, carrying four separate interviews with pupils, the headteacher, experts and Govox founder Richard Lucas.

More importantly – schools took notice. Within two weeks of the campaign launch, over 100,000 pupils had been signed up to receive mental health support for the next academic year, with the number continuing to grow. 

Govox has also received dozens of enquiries from independent schools and organisations (as a direct result of media coverage) who are interested in paying for access to Govox, ensuring that the campaign also had significant commercial benefits for the brand.