Social Marketing


The strategy of social marketing is important and needed to help the society and individuals realize the consequence of their behaviors and therefore change to make their lives better. The use of commercial marketing elements which are persuasive is the secrete behind the approach. A good number of people believe that their behaviors are right and therefore an attempt to show otherwise and the need to change result in too much resistance.  A strategized persuasive social marketing approach can work out the opposition and change the behaviors. The approach analyzes behaviors to understand their cause and therefore target to offer something good to the target with the aim of changing the practices. This study provides a social marketing plan for changing self-harm and other negative behaviors of young men with mental disorders such as stress and depression.

The scope of Mental Health in Young Men

Cases of depression in the US leading to self-harm and death are high, especially among the young people. An estimate of 9 percent of a male in the US suffers from depression every day (Blumberg, Clarke & Blackwell, 2016, 1). The percentage of those with anxiety disorder every day stands at 7.5 percent.  Young people in the US are also experiencing depression where, about 2.5 percent of those between the age of six and twelve are victims (Blumberg et al., 2016, 3). The percentage of children between eight and fifteen years who experience depression in the cause of their lives is 13. Blumberg et al. (2016, par 3), reports that suicide ranks number 10 among the major US causes of death. The number of males who commits suicide in the US is four times more than the number of women. However, the cases of suicide in young people between the age of 15 and 24 years are very high. Suicide ranks number two among the major causes of young people’s deaths. According to Blumberg et al. (2016, 3) over half of the suicides occurs through firearms in the US.

The rate of mental disorder in the United Kingdom is high standing at 16 million people. About 25 percent of all citizens in the UK experiences mental illness in their life (McManus, Bebbington, Jenkins &  Brugha 2016, 4). Out of the whole population with mental illness, the largest share affects young people. In the UK, suicide is among the leading causes of death among young people below 35 years (Marsh, 2017, par 3). An approximate 1660 people below 35 years committed suicide in 2015, which was an increase from 1557 in 2014. According to the Office of National Health Statistics England (2018, par. 5), 12 percent of all young people between the age of 5 and 19 years were depressed in 2017. Also, the number of males who commit suicide is three times more than that of women.  In 2013, there was 78 percent of men committing suicide while that of women was 22 percent (Marsh, 2017, par 3).

Death through self-harm in Australia leads at number 13 among the major causes of deaths. The position has improved from 15 in 2016 (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2018, par 1). The figures show that there is increased mental disorder among the Australians, which is leading to suicide through, self-harm.  The country records high death rates related to self-harm in men compared to women.  According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2018, par 2), men commit suicide through self-harm three times compared to women. Out of all male deaths in 2017, 75.1 percent came from self-harm high compared to that of female, which was 24.9 percent of all deaths in the gender.  Even without comparing men and women, 75.1 percent of all deaths resulting from self-harm is very high. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2018, par 2) points out those male deaths through self-harm rank at position 10 in the major causes of deaths while in women, it is above number 20.

Insights into the Decisions Made

While mental illness occurs in both genders, the effects appear to be more in men compared to women. The challenge with men is to identify when they have depression. Women show signs of sadness and increased fear among others thereby getting help.  Also, women tend to talk about their mental disorders with other women or people(Wang et al., 2013, 4). On the other hand, Men will always hide their emotions and other signs, which may reveal that they are depressed, or have other metal related illness (Wang et al., 2013, 4). Although excessive stress, depression, and anxiety may reveal through physical signs like racing heart, digestive issues, and prolonged headache, men tend to deny that they are worried. The denial, therefore, makes it very had to help them solve their stress disorders.

Families and cultures teach people at a young age how to behave according to their genders. The culture teaches young men that they are not supposed to cry no matter what happens to them (Seidler et al., 2016, 108). In this case, young men will not show excessive stress by crying the way girls do. The result is prolonged stress, which develops into a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In another case, culture teaches young men that they are not supposed to leave issues but face them without showing signs of defeat. The information makes young men keep quiet with what is disturbing them and try to solve alone. Most of those challenges are beyond their control, but culture forces them to press on because they are men (Seidler et al., 2016, 110). Examples of such persisting situations, which men can face leading to stress, include sexual harassment from peers, older men, and women. A combination of threats from such groups, failure to report the incidence and the culture teachings on perseverance creates deep stress, which does not have solutions. Such kind of men tends to take life-threatening actions as a way of solving the disorders or avoiding shame.

The actions, which men take once stress and other mental disorder heighten, depend on several factors. They make decisions depending on the incidence leading to stress, their needs, altitude, desires, availability of money and other resources (Oliffe, 2017, 179). Mental health disorders may result from genetics or come at the time of birth or from other daily life issues like abuse from parents and guardians. The two sources create two categories of needs from those people who attempt or self-harm. Those with genetic mental disorders need medical treatment while those with mental disorders resulting from daily life require human or social support.  However, even those with genetic disorders also have social deficiencies associated with the illness and therefore need human assistance to control the resultant behavior.

One cause of self-harm behaviors is the feeling of non-recognition and appreciation. The emotions can result from mental disorders in genetics like deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in males (Shaw, Stringaris, Nigg, & Leibenluft, 2014, 278). It is not easy to discover the condition until adulthood. ADHD makes young men unable to perform well in academics, develop socially and therefore fail to get jobs (Shaw, Stringaris, Nigg, & Leibenluft, 2014, 278). The result is self-esteem showing them that they are not worth. Such young men will turn into suicide or drug abuse to escape from the situation. They feel that society does not appreciate or accept them. The need for recognition and appreciation, therefore, leads such young men to exhibit body harming behaviors.

Another cause of self-harm is the feeling of rejection, abandonment, and criticism mostly in family relationships. The mental disorder, which results from such issues, is known as a borderline personality disorder (BPD) (Kaess, Brunner,& Chanen, 2014, 783). Young men who are in relationships with issues such as trust feels that their women reject and criticize them in terms of their ability to perform men roles. Such kind of men develops the need for acceptance and support (Kaess et al., 2014, 785). Lack of such needs leads them to suicidal thoughts, alcoholism or other self-harm behaviors. Giving such people a sense of acceptance will lower their self-harm thoughts as they wait to solve their relationship issues.

The feeling of failure to leave to the standards also leads to self-harm. Even though the behavior of men to identify with others is not common, young male still maintains the practice. They value their worth depending on how their body is better than those of their peers. The culture and genetics dictate that men should have muscles, distinct base voices among other appearances. Those who do not possess the appearances to develop a feeling of failure and therefore depression and anxiety (Thomas et al., 2013, 5703). They will go to the gym for exercises, and when they are no change, they tend to hit the wall or injure themselves in other ways as a way of emotional control. What they need is an appreciation of their bodies to make them feel that they are not failures.

Other sources of self-injuries include anxiety from the feeling of hopelessness. Most young people experience harsh life conditions which require them to work extra hard to earn for themselves and their families. Lack of enough income for sustenance makes them feel hopeless about life leading to self-harm (Thomas et al., 2013, 5705). Another category of young men is those who self-harm because of the stress related to failed romantic relationships. Such men feel ashamed and therefore decide to self-harm as a way or relieving emotions.

Most Efficient and Effective People to Target

From the above analysis, the most effective and efficient people to target are the young men between the age of 20 and 35 years. Men in the age group have more life issues to deal with which can lead to mental illness (Morriss, Kapur, & Byng, 2013, 4573). Also, most of the genetic and birth-related mental illness are likely to reveal or affect this age group. Taking an example of the genetic mental illness, ADHD, it affects men when they are in search of job and family connections. They discover at such a time that they cannot get a job or a marriage partner because of their poor academic performance and underdeveloped social skills. At this age, men begin to become independent as others look for outside connections. Most people do not help men at this stage because they believe that after finishing school they should look for a job and provide for themselves. The many responsibility and life issues which young men at the age come across makes them prone to more frequent mental disorders (Morriss et al., 2013, 4580). The campaign will, therefore, be effective to handle this group because there is a great need for mental help.

Men at the age of 20 to 35 years are easy to handle in a social campaign because they are at a state when they need the help of different ways. The social campaign focuses on doing good to people and the community as a bait although the target is to change behavior or life of persons to the better. Those men are looking for a job, career, relationship and the best place to leave among other needs. The needs provide a lead for the social marketing campaign to get attention from the young men (Corcoran, 2015, 975).  Most of them will want to go for seminars or discussions, which touch their future, and since behavior change is one of them, the campaign will be efficient and effective.

Another reason why this group is the best to target is availability. Young men at that age move around looking for job, friends, partners and best places to relax. It will be easy to find them having enough time to listen to the social marketing messages and training (Corcoran, 2015, 972). Men approaching the age of 30 where they plan to have and settle with a family are always looking for ways to change their behaviors, which would portray a good image to their wives and children. Some of those behaviors are excessive drinking, shouting and suicide attempts. Taking the social marketing campaign for such people will be very easy since that is one of their needs. Most wants to share with people how they can stop conflicts with parents, which lead to stress or other issues. However, because of the demand culture places on masculine gender, men tend to be quiet with their problems, which they are willing to share but faced with a barrier (Thomas et al., 2013, 5703). This group is therefore efficient to apply social marketing campaign because of their need for such messages making them cooperate and availability,

Intervention strategy for the campaign


To change the behavior of self –harm when young men face stress, anxiety, depression and other mental related disorders

To change the behavior of silence when young men are having stress and other mental related illness

To change the behavior of taking alcohol and abusing drugs as a way of relieving stress in young men

Social Marketing Mix

Product for the campaign

One of the products for the campaign is a medical examination. The people identified will go through a medical exam to find out the depth of their problem in case it is genetical or acquired during birth. The examination will help to know the primary need of the participants. Another product is psychologist and psychotherapist’s services and process to the target. The team will teach men how to control their wishes within their abilities and care for their life and body. When people do everything they wish, their lives get out of hands, and they can do anything including to harm their bodies (Mens, 2016, 3). The product will also help to identify the cause of mental illness. Also, it will help the young people to solve their disorder as they proceed to the next stage of understanding how to deal with stress.  The other product is counselor or therapist services, which will teach the target groups alternative ways to deal with stress other than self-harm or abusing alcohol and other drugs.


One of the prices, which the target group has to pay, is time. The campaign will take only 20-minute maximum for onsite exposition, 10 seconds for those reading billboards and posters, 30 seconds for television adverts and 25 seconds for radio adverts. The time will be small to ensure that the participant afford. Another price to pay is an embarrassment from the peer. Some groups of people from society will not agree with the idea of men sharing their problems (Gordon, 2013, 1528). However, the benefit of changed behaviors outweighs the embarrassment price, and therefore, the target group will afford.


One of the areas which the campaign will take place is in shopping centers where the young men go to pass the time. The team will set a tent in such regions and serve them from there. Another place is on the road where the group meets the young men. The campaign takes 20 minutes maximum and therefore, it is easy to serve the target while standing on the way. There will also be the use of social media messages targeting facebook in specific, television, radio and billboards.


Promotion of the campaign itself will go on through media advertising and newspapers. Also, there will be entertaining vehicles going around with the announcement of the next place the group will visit. The adverts will carry messages of the existence of the social marketing group and the primary function.

Additional marketing mix elements


The campaign will involve several teams of seven people each comprising of a psychologist, counselor, psychotherapist, an entertainer and three other staff with social marketing skills. There will also be some staff from the ministry of health as well as gender and youth to oversee the implementation and look for policy need in the programs. The two departments will also approve the implementation of the strategy.


There will be a partnership with other agencies, which deal with issues affecting families, health and drug and substance abuse. The agencies will help to mobilize resources and understand the target group more to simplify the complex relationship between social, health and behavior. 

Purse Strings

The team will collaborate with NGOs, the government, local authorities, and other companies to fund the project. All the people involved will require remunerations, and therefore, a partnership to support the project is essential. The team will also need money to fund the advertisements, tents, hire vehicles and develop handouts.  


The campaign requires a policy to strengthen it and maintain the changed behaviors for a longer time. The messages can change men’s actions at the point of the campaign, but once the participants leave and come across alcohol, they might have temptations to take, having in mind that they still have the stress (Gordon, 2013, 1528). Also, the temptation to commit suicide will always be there even after the campaign. What the campaign will do is to add an option to others, which are available when a person is stressed. Having a policy, which may force behavior change in addition to social persuasion through the campaign, will maintain the behaviors and the impact of the crusade.

The suggested policy which the local authority or national government need to implement is banning the sale of alcohol and other drugs not only to people under 18 but also those under 30 years. Most young men at that age do not drink for pleasure because they even do not have enough money to buy those drugs and alcohol. Banning their sale to them will ensure that the behavior of taking alcohol when stressed does not come back after the campaign is over.  The authority should also include punishment for people who attempt or harm themselves intentionally in the law, which punishes those who attempt suicide.


Mental illness cuts across all genders although the resultant effects are more in men than women. Women can share their feelings and therefore get help. Men, on the other hand, accumulate stress and depression, which later leads to self-harm and drug abuse. The cases are more in young men since they are yet to develop better ways to handles such disorders. Also, young men have many issues affecting them as they introduce themselves to life. A social marketing approach to address mental health in young men will impact because of its persuasive element. The plan will involve counseling the men and advising them on the best actions to take when in depression. The mental specialist will be in the team to ensure an impacting campaign which will run in social places.  The objective of marketing is to change the behavior of self-harm and make men start talking out their issues for help.

Reference List