Review: AdMental 2021

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By Dina Ustovic

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Like an ouroboros type beast, advertising is infinite in its feedback loop between consumer and creator. So, in an age where mental health awareness is becoming a more pressing topic, how do we “sell” mental health, especially to young people? This is what local Adelaide event AdMental plans to uncover. Now in its fourth year, the event created by SA Health’s Office of Public Health, Adelaide Advertising and Design Club (AADC), Don Dunstan Foundation, and the Mental Health Coalition of South Australia (MHCSA) aims to bring together the power of advertising and mental health. What entails is a night of honest dialogue and also unexpected hilarity. 

AdMental is a powerhouse of local talent. From the extraordinary and electrifying Hans as MC to the accomplished and well-informed discussion panel, AdMental reminds us of the importance of supporting and portraying those with lived experience in advertisement truthfully. In particular, the discussion panel was a delight to hear from. As a young person who is still exploring and understanding their own mental health; the panel voiced many concerns and issues that deeply resonated. The impact of having a nuanced and fluid conversation around mental health cannot be understated, especially in a post-Covid world where it often feels like our voices are left out from the conversation. Young people want to have real discussions surrounding mental health and AdMental allows us the opportunity to have these conversations safely and sincerely.  

Radiating in artistic flair, our two creatives of the night both hit the target with their advertisements. To create a viral ad and to start a universal conversation around mental health in adolescents can be difficult, and yet the two pitches were both extremely well-crafted and constructive. Dallas Rogers (the winner of the night) provided a candid look at the debilitating effect that comes from isolating and hiding these aspects of ourselves. As Dallas stated, “out of sight doesn’t mean out of mind”. Alice Reardon also provided a frank look at the effects of anxiety and the importance of having a support system. Both pitches challenged the harmful stigma that mental health must be endured alone. Rather, they reminded us of the silent impact they can have on an individual. Nevertheless, the advertisements served to remind us that it is our shared experiences and our support as a collective that truly allows us to take the first step on our journeys.

AdMental is an impressive event that shows us how we can use our creative tools to influence and create positive attitudes around mental health. An exciting event, it will be fascinating to see how AdMental expands in the future which will hopefully allow for further diverse and nuanced conversations that help a wide array of demographics.

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