I am considered a marketing ‘expert’, so I’ve spent a lot of time studying, (re)branding and marketing products and people. When I first started the nonprofit iFred, my idea was to rebrand the disease state (depression) into something that focused on the positive, hopeful, joyous state that could be reached once you recognize and treat depression.
It seemed pretty obvious to me that if we portray depression or other mental issues as ‘hopeless, depressing, and disturbing,’ we are not going to get much positive attention or resources.
So I have traveled around the world presenting on this very subject and one especially interesting thing to me is the passion we all feel about what brain diseases should be called. I’ve looked up definitions for what we are currently using, and from my perspective the overall category is ‘brain disease’ and we have different categories underneath that description. However, many people feel adamantly the use of the word disease is too strong and will turn people off.
Unfortunately the people making these decisions are often the people with the very issues they are talking about — and there may be an unintentional bias towards the conclusion. I’m interested in not just what we think, but in making categorizations that are serious, erase the notion that it is ‘all in our head,’ and show that it is treatable so that people seek treatment before it’s too late.
I’ll be happy when we spend money doing actual scientific surveys on this issue. I understand that we have the most brilliant researchers of all working on the development of the DSM — but what I don’t understand is if our main problem is marketing (perception) why we don’t have the most brilliant marketers working on it as well?
Until that time, what is your perspective on what we call ADHD, Depression, Brain Diseases, Mental Illness…?
Last reviewed: 26 Apr 2010