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How a postcard can inspire a movement towards real connections

14 July 2020

Most of us start our conversations with hello. It’s short, quick and a simple way to make a connection with someone. But what do we do if we can’t see people face-to-face, or we don’t feel like we can start a conversation? What about moving our ‘hello’ to a postcard?

The idea

We recently carried out a brand refresh at Health in Mind and it was through this that our branded ‘hello’ came to life. It has become a real feature of our brand as it captures who we are as a charity – creative, caring and compassionate.

It was this, along with conversations around the positive impact of connections that sparked our idea for the #WritingToSayHello campaign.

Connections and Wellbeing

Connecting with others is important for our mental health and wellbeing. It is one of the 5 ways to wellbeing as it is a way for us to remind ourselves that we’re important and valued by others.

In a world where we can be connected to everyone at all times, you would expect people to feel fulfilled in their social relationships. But we know this isn’t the case.

Research has shown that almost a fifth of people in the UK feel lonely, and it’s on the rise. It seems that although we are now more able to ‘connect’ with those around us, we are feeling more lonely than ever. Our focus has turned to the quantity of our relationships, not necessarily the quality. Covid-19 has also highlighted the real inequality people face if they don’t have access to digital devices or have internet access.

Health in Mind wanted to take this chance to encourage people to pause and think about the type of relationships they want to have with those around them.

We wanted to move away from a culture where our conversations with each other are primarily based on sending a quick text without much thought, to one in which we connect with each other in a meaningful way.

Although it is something we can all do, there’s something real and lovely in receiving a handwritten note in the post. It shows that the person has taken time out of their day to think about you. They have carefully chosen what they want to say and how they want to make you feel.

Making a meaningful choice 

We designed and printed ‘hello’ postcards as well as a digital version that people can print at home.

Our simple design is in black and white and the person sending the card can take time out and mindfully colour it in, or they can send it for the person receiving the card to colour in themselves. It allows people to be creative and personalise their card.

As the campaign launched in lockdown, we have promoted it using the power of our online community. We shared it on our social media channels, our partner networks as well as our website. Our staff supported the campaign too and took some time out of their day to colour in their own postcards.

We have encouraged people to share the postcards that they have sent by using #WritingToSayHello or by contacting us directly. The bright and bold nature of the coloured in postcards increased their shareability for greater reach online and its’ message.

To support the campaign and further motivate people to connect with others in a more meaningful way, we have written articles around connections, loneliness and the 5 ways to wellbeing on our website and an ongoing series of social media posts on the topic.

A powerful response

We’ve had a wide range of positive responses and have actually received a couple of hello postcards ourselves!

People have shared really personal stories with us about how the campaign has encouraged them to reconnect with old friends. Some people had lost touch and didn’t know how to start a conversation, but the card gave them an easy way to reach out. Others have taken part by sending the postcard to family members they couldn’t see during lockdown.

We have also found our youngest member of the Health in Mind community, Molly, who is only two years old. Her mum printed off the postcard from our website and they spent time together colouring them in.

Has it increased wellbeing?

For those who have been in touch, it looks like it has had a positive impact on their wellbeing. It has given some families a chance to do something together, helped others to reconnect with old friends and for others to stay connected during a time that has been challenging for us all.

We are planning to keep the campaign going throughout the year (and maybe beyond) and look forward to more people joining in our movement to connect by #WritingToSayHello.

The success of the project demonstrates that we don’t always have to be flashy with a lot of resources to have an impact, or for people to engage with something. In this case, a campaign based on the simple act of sending a postcard has inspired a change towards better connections.

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Laura Andre

Communications and engagement officer, Health in Mind

Laura is the communications and engagement officer at Health in Mind, testing, developing and implementing communication strategies to raise awareness of services and promote positive mental health and wellbeing in Scotland. Laura has previously worked for communication agencies. 

Alana Genge

Communications manager, Health in Mind

Alana is the communications manager at Health in Mind, responsible for all internal and external communication activities and the charity's public profile. She has previously worked in communications roles at national charities Family Action and Grandparents Plus. She is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.