The Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts has recognized the Communication program’s 2019 honors convergence project with a Silver Davey Award in the category of Websites in the Health and Health Services. Produced by a team of 12 Communication majors in their senior year, capstone course project, MagnifyMentalHealth.com features a collection video, audio, creative writing, photography, and infographics.
The Davey Awards—“sanctioned and judged by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts, an invitation-only body consisting of top-tier professionals from a ‘Who’s Who’ of acclaimed media, advertising, and marketing firms”—honor outstanding creative from the best small agencies and companies worldwide. The 2019 recognition is Cabrini’s sixth Davey Award in as many years.
Magnify Mental Health: Identifying Root Causes of Mental Health Inequities and Seeking Possible Solutions asks the question, “What is mental health?” and why it matters. The website notes that 43.8 million adults in the United States will experience mental illness in a given year.
Highlighting the experiences of individuals touched by mental health illnesses, the students set out to promote the importance of mental health awareness, equity, and advocacy. They recorded interiews with 70 people to tell their stories.
“We felt that for something that touches literally every single person’s life, [mental health] failed to have a proper platform for conversation and education,” said student project manager Emma Rodner-Tims, now an Account Executive for the marketing agency DMW. “We felt it was time to really give mental health the attention and respect it deserved in hopes of making a breakthrough with the individuals who would cross our site.”
The website offers information about systemic concerns involving mental health and well-being, emphasizing that people should view mental health as important as physical health.
“Without previous background, it's a really complex lift to learn about the stigma of mental illness and the lack of both insurance parity and treatment,” said Cathy Yungmann, Professor Emerita of Communication and the class instructor. “The students’ goal was to shed light on the struggles of people facing mental health challenges and to seek out possible solutions.”
In addition to Rodner-Tims, this honors convergence team of students graduated in May 2019 and included Ryan Brong, Kelly Bush, Jordan Clothier, Hope Daluisio, Shannon Finn, Rahmere Griffin, Keegan McKoskey, Angelina Miller, Laura Samson, Eric Stone, and John Williams.
“It is our job to make sure that the mental health community has advocates and is understood,” notes Rodner-Tims on the website. “The more we know about mental health, the less likely mental health will seem taboo. If the conversation can grow big enough, mental health will receive the resources and treatment options it deserves.”