Health and Wellness

Educating America about Stress
Mind/Body Health Public Education Campaign, American Psychological Association,
2006 – present

Stress_In_America_ImageTo get mainstream media talking about the connection between behavioral health and stress and chronic illnesses, Vanguard and the American Psychological Association (APA) conceptualized the Stress in America™ survey.

Challenge: In the absence of breaking news or emerging research, reporters were hard-pressed to write feature stories about the relationship between behavioral health, stress and chronic illnesses, such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

  • In 2006, Vanguard worked with APA’s Practice Directorate to identify a timely and relevant news hook that would get journalists talking about this critical connection and appeal to the campaigns primary audience — women and families.

Innovation: Vanguard collaborated with APA to conceptualize a nationwide consumer survey on stress as part of the organization’s Mind/Body Health Public Education Campaign.

  • The survey positions APA as the organization and psychologists as the health practitioners measuring attitudes and perceptions about stress, increasing their name-recognition as whole-body health thought leaders.
  • The results of the survey highlight serious physical and emotional implications of stress and the inextricable link between the mind and body, giving reporters the news they need to talk about an issue that affects everyone — stress.
  • From scripting to staging, Vanguard produces a survey release event each year to give women’s interest, health and lifestyle reporters an opportunity to engage in a meaningful discussion about stress, lifestyle, behavior and chronic disease in the context of psychology.

Results: The success experienced with the first release event of Stress in America prompted APA to make the survey an annual event. Vanguard established a relationship with USA Today in the early years of the survey, yielding high-profile, exclusive stories about survey findings.

  • Stress in America has been cited in resources and work by leading figures and organizations, including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the 2009 report “A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything” by Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress.
  • While previous release events produced by Vanguard were held in New York to target feature magazines, the 2012 event was a town hall-style discussion held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The event, which was webcast live to nearly 600 viewers, was moderated by Susan Dentzer, editor-in-chief of Health Affairs and leading health policy journalist, and featured leadership from APA and YMCA of the USA — an APA partner organization — addressing solutions to the behavioral health challenges presented by stress.
  • Also in 2012, the relationship with USA Today resulted in stories in the Life section and in the Your Life online section, followed by a cover story in USA Weekend. The media coverage was staggering — more than 750 stories about the survey have appeared in outlets including CNN, NPR, The Wall Street Journal, AARP, Voice of America, Woman’s Day and more, with advertising value topping $1 million.