The genius behind the Mental Health 2.0 Contest

Nov.19.Op.MentalHealthNowadays, it seems like the only way to get a message across effectively is by using some sort of social media. Since the launch of the Mental Health 2.0 Contest, it is clear that the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) has realized this too. The COU and the Government of Ontario have both teamed up to present the Mental Health 2.0 Contest, which is a student competition, open to all graduate and undergraduate students in Ontario to participate in.

The idea of the contest is simple – any student, either as an individual or a team, is required to use social media tools to promote mental health on campus. With these, they are asked to use social media to promote positive changes in mental health at a student’s respective university. All that is required is an outline of a social media campaign to create positive changes in mental health. The judges will be looking at how effectively the message reaches out to the audience and what kind of content is used. Alternatively, for anyone that has already developed a campaign, they can share what they did to participate in the competition as well.

The premise behind this contest is genius – not only is it free to join, but it’s an effective way of improving students’ mental health and giving students the opportunity to win cash prizes as well. On top of that, it is a contest that will appeal to a lot of people – the awareness of mental health is growing, especially on university campuses. With more and more people becoming aware of the issue and the use of media that appeals to almost everyone, it is a win-win situation for all parties involved.

The contest opened on Oct. 10, and will continue until Nov. 29 at 4:00 a.m. The contest is open to all university students and ideas can be submitted in several different accessible formats that can be found on the contest website. The winners of the contest will receive cash prizes. First place will receive $1500, second place will receive $1,000 and third place will receive $500.

The reason this contest is such a good idea is because it has a current concept that appeals to everyone. Social media is something that almost every student of this generation is familiar with. Since there are so many different social media options, ranging from more common ones like Facebook and Twitter to more professional uses such as LinkedIn or even GooglePlus, it appeals to a wider audience and therefore has that much more of a chance to achieve the goal behind the project. Also, it helps the COU with their work – by getting thousands of ideas about a new social media campaign to get their message across, not only are students all over Ontario helping them do their job and create change, but it’s also a way for students to get involved in something huge. Not to mention how impressive winning a contest like this looks on a resume.

The timing of this contest is also quite convenient. Stretching the contest to over a month’s time gives students the chance to really think about what they’re submitting and give it their all. With it also being Wellness Week, and just over a week left until the contest closes, it gives students more than enough time to be involved in something huge. Because October and November are some of the busiest months for students, it makes sense for there to be aware of mental health problems during these times. The timing of Wellness Week couldn’t be better.

For more information on how to submit your social media ideas, please visit the Submit page at mentalhealth20.ca/submit/.

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