Document Type : Original Article



BACKGROUND: COVID‑19 virus has resulted in significant psychological distress for many
individuals, particularly, those in underserved communities. Social media have the potential to be
one of the most effective tools for mental health campaigns, reaching wide audiences in the shortest
amount of time. In this paper, the potential of harnessing social media platforms to address mental
health needs in underserved populations is presented. In addition, description of the preliminary
implementation of a social media mental health campaign, the 5 × 5 campaign, is described
as an example of the feasibility and benefits of such efforts. Key implications gleaned from the
implementation process are also presented.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Utilizing a participatory approach, the 5 × 5 campaign aimed to
improve recognition of mental health symptoms, promote help seeking, and provide immediate
strategies for self‑care for individuals experiencing psychological distress related to the COVID‑19
pandemic in low‑income, high‑risk communities in and around Guatemala City. Campaign content
was promoted on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp from April 2020 to June 2020.
RESULTS: Preliminary analysis of the 5 × 5 campaign demonstrated feasibility and substantial
impact with over 84,000 individuals reached by the campaigns through initial messaging and shares.
CONCLUSION: The 5 × 5 highlights the feasibility of using social media campaigns for mental health
promotion and key factors that should be incorporated in the planning of social media mental health
campaigns aimed at promoting awareness, engaging underserved communities, and encouraging
help seeking.


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