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Open Paradigm Project highlights psychiatric diagnosis with social media

Tim Gibbon (Social Media Portal (SMP)) - 24 May 2013

Open Paradigm Project PR, social media and video campaign

Social media and video marketing used to educate audience to mental health  issues by the Open Paradigm Project

Open Paradigm Project logoCampaign name: Open Paradigm Project
Organisation: Stories of Hope From People Who Rejected Psychiatric Diagnosis
Audience: Individuals and families that have experienced fallout from the psychiatric system
Duration: 19/05/2013 - on-going
Budget: Five-figure budget
Channels: Public relations, video marketing and social media

Social Media Portal (SMP): Company behind the campaign?

Open Paradigm Project  (OPP): Open Paradigm Project

Our website is and Twitter account at @open_paradigm

SMP: The official campaign name and why was it chosen?

OPP: The campaign is called “Stories of Hope From People Who Rejected Psychiatric Diagnosis.”  The name reflects the nature of the content itself, which coincides with the controversy surrounding the release of the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illness (DSM-5).

SMP: What was the start and end of the campaign?

OPP: The campaign launched on 19 May 2013 and will be on-going for the indefinite future.

Testimonial image of Dr. Dan Fisher from The Open Paradigm ProjectSMP: Who are the target audiences of the campaign, who are you trying to reach and why?

OPP: The primary demographic includes individuals and families that have been negatively impacted by the psychiatric system, as well as individuals who may be experiencing challenges commonly labelled as having a “mental illness.”  These families and individuals need to be given hope and understand that human suffering is not a medical deficiency, as many have been led to believe.  Additionally, the campaign aims to raise awareness amongst the professional community and the general public around these issues.

SMP: Briefly, tell us about your campaign

OPP: The Open Paradigm Project offers hopeful perspectives about what is commonly referred to as “mental illness”, in light of the controversy surrounding the newest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).  These video testimonials starkly unveil the failure of and harm done by, the prevailing model of mental health care, which views “mental illness” as a biological brain disease.  Many reflect on years lost to "illnesses" they came to realise did not have a medical basis, and discuss the myriad supports, which enabled them to successfully integrate these experiences into their lives.

SMP: What are the objectives of the campaign and why is it different?

OPP: The campaign features professionally produced videos of individuals who are living meaningful, productive lives, despite being told by psychiatry that they are fundamentally broken and dysfunctional human beings.  The goal is to break down the public’s misconception that “mental illnesses” are biological brain diseases, from which people will never recover.

SMP: What are the channels, platforms and methods you’re using?

OPP: The campaign is being marketed through social media (YouTube, Facebook and Twitter) in order to create a bottom-up groundswell of momentum driven by people who have been most impacted by these issues.  The featured videos represent not only the stories of those on film, but myriad others who have gone through similar experiences, and whose voices have never been heard.  The campaign will also be promoted on Mad in America.

SMP: Why did you decide to launch the campaign (or issued the press release) on a Saturday?

OPP: We wanted to announce the campaign in proximity to the protest that took place at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual convention, on Sunday, 19 May 2013 in San Francisco.  This was the official “release date” of DSM-5.

Testimonial image of Cicely Spencer from The Open Paradigm ProjectSMP: What are you achieving (what are the results so far)?

OPP: So far we have generated over 1,000 views of the content on YouTube, with limited outreach and promotion.  We foresee the momentum of this campaign as gradual, and have just begun to organize outreach to targeted groups, organizations, and individuals.  Day-by-day the activity is increasing.

SMP: What is the budget used for the campaign?

OPP: The total budget to this point is a low five-figure sum, as most all labour has been comprised of donated time and expertise by individuals compassionate to this important social issue.

SMP: How are you making the campaign social?

OPP: We are encouraging individuals who have been impacted by these issues to take pride of ownership in this content and promote it through their personal social networks. Additionally, we are encouraging those who want their stories to be told to reach out to us through this campaign.

SMP: Are there any dedicated hash tags or social media profiles for the campaign?

#DSM5 and #OpenParadigm

SMP: Why has video been used for driver of this social media campaign?

OPP: Video is being used as the driver for this social media campaign because these are emotionally charged stories of human experience and human rights violations, which are better told by those who live through the experience themselves.

SMP: Where can we see it?

OPP: Primary platform for videos is at The Open Paradigm Project YouTube channel.

SMP: Is there anything else we should know, or is there anything in particular that you’d like to share about the campaign?

OPP: This is the beginning of a long-term campaign for social change focusing on an issue that is inherent to every family, classroom and/or community across the globe.  The notion of mental illness as a “biological brain disease” has been packaged and sold to the general public for decades, despite any scientific evidence to support it.  The tide has begun to turn and the truth is rearing its head.  These are the front lines of a human rights movement.    

SMP: Best way to contact you and elements of Open Paradigm Project?

Twitter: @open_paradigm

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