Stability for someone living with mental illness comes from the little things. Routine. Sleep. Diet. Socializing. Each is as critical as medication and therapy. Even the tiniest change to one or more of the little things can trigger instability.
So, how do you ask a community of folks diagnosed with mental illness to trust you when you’re about to change their healthcare (for the better)? How do you support the families who will go through that change with them?
Well, not using formal, unfriendly, and mind-bending government policy language is a start. It took a lot of meetings with state administrators, focus group feedback, and editing back-and-forth, but, in a reversal of “that’s the way we’ve always done it,” we told stories instead.
A nonprofit managing Medicaid benefits for behavioral health, Northern Arizona Regional Behavioral Health Authority (NARBHA) was switching to a new model of healthcare that treats the whole person. It’s called integrated care. We used our annual report, required annually by the state, to showcase real-people stories about how integrated care improved their health and quality of life. Those stories became rich content for social media posts, blog posts, and email news for public awareness campaigns.
That was it. A few good stories that turned a lot of medical jargon into something good and real.