The Malden Health Department launched a social marketing campaign called “Find Your Calm” aimed at promoting healthy ways to cope with stress among high school aged youth. With support from a Partnership for Success (PFS) prevention grant from MA Bureau of Substance Addiction Services (BSAS), the department worked with youth and adults from Healthy ME, Mystic Valley Public Health Coalition, YWCA and Malden High School (MHS) to create the campaign. The team presented a poster contest to art students at MHS that consisted of creating a graphic that represents healthy stress relieving activities. Focus groups were conducted with other MHS students to help the team choose which graphic should be used for their campaign. MHS freshman, Jadelini Mara, created the winning artwork that was deemed the favorite and resonated most with the students, and with the theme “Find Your Calm.”
“I came up with the picture by thinking what ways I deal with stress on a daily basis, because it’s common knowledge that school is stressful for most kids my age and above. So, I wanted to go for a happy and uplifting mood for the artwork by using bold colors. And further adding, the boy in the picture was inspired by one of my friends in my art class, as he was the one who makes our friend group double down by laugher with his jokes,” said Jadelini Mara.
Prevention research shows that the best approach in social marketing campaigns is to offer positive messaging and normalize healthy choices. MHS students reported during focus groups that they liked the positivity of Jadelini’s artwork. Also, students stated that the poster should contain a QR code where they would be able to get more information on stress and resources.
The Malden Health Department is conducting the “Find Your Calm” campaign because of the results from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System Survey (YRBS) data, which presented that more than half of Malden High School students experience stress in their lives. Also, the data showed a relationship between self-reported prescription drug (Rx) misuse history and current life stress. After comparing the prevalence of Rx misuse with reported stress, it was determined that MHS students who have a history of prescription drug misuse also report life stress.
The “Find Your Calm” poster has a QR code attached where you can scan with your phone and a page will pop up with more information on stress, prescription drug information, and mental health and substance use resources.
About the community grant initiative: Partnerships for Success (PFS) 2015 is a federally funded grant awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which aims to prevent prescription drug misuse and abuse in high school aged youth. Malden’s PFS 2015 grant is coordinated out of the Malden Board of Health and works in collaboration with several youth-serving entities in Malden and surrounding areas to achieve our goals, including: Malden Police Department, Malden Public Schools, Malden’s Promise, and Mystic Valley Public Health Coalition. For more information please visit www.cityofmalden.org/194/Local-Prevention-Initiatives or on Instagram: maldensaps
Pictured in photo: Mayor Gary Christenson, Jadelini Mara, MHS Freshman and Leanne Bordonaro, Substance Abuse Prevention Outreach Manager for Malden PFS grant