The Shaw Mind Foundation

Helping a mental health charity go viral, generate 100,000 signatures and be heard in Parliament


The Shaw Mind Foundation


The Situation

Mental Health Charity, the Shaw Mind Foundation, launched the Headucation UK campaign calling on the government to include mental health education as a compulsory subject in the national curriculum. Central to their campaign was an online Government petition which needed to reach 100,000 signatures by the 6 July 2017 deadline for the proposal to be automatically considered for debate in Parliament.

What we did

PLMR was brought on board only three months from the deadline, with 50,000 petition signatures to go, and put in place a strategy to maximise its impact. This involved raising significant awareness around the issue of mental health in schools, and securing media opportunities to encourage the general public to take action.
PLMR identified the key audiences most likely to engage with the petition, and targeted the most effective media channels to reach each specific audience.

PLMR used polling and case studies of school-children and the personal story of Adam Shaw, the foundation’s founder who himself suffered from debilitating OCD and depression, to target the national broadcast and print media. PLMR built a partnership with Mumsnet (the leading online community for parents), and targeted student newspapers and education trade magazines to reach parents, students, teachers and schools – all key groups relevant to this issue. PLMR also built a relationship with the Huffington post and used an open letter from expert child psychologists and psychiatrists to generate political engagement as well.

The snap General Election suddenly moved the deadline forward to the 3rd May 2017 and risked shutting down the campaign. PLMR redoubled efforts and built significant momentum through an impressive social media campaign that centred on approaching celebrities and ‘online influencers’ with millions of followers to promote the petition.

Throughout the campaign, PLMR secured coverage in (but not limited to) BBC Breakfast; Today Programme (BBC Radio 4); Sky Sunrise; Sky News; BBC Radio Sheffield; Sky News Radio; The Times, The I; The Metro, Huffington Post UK; LadBible; Metro; Notts TV; Mumsnet; Times Education Supplement; BBC East Midlands Today; and the Daily Mail and over 300 regional news outlets.
PLMR secured online endorsements from Steven Fry, Alastair Campbell, Kerry Katona, Georgia Toffolo from Made in Chelsea, Norman Lamb MP, Caroline Lucas MP and other influencers with a total of over 15 million followers on social media.

The Result

Through this significant activity, the petition reached 100,000 signatures just a few days ahead of the May 3rd deadline, and the Conservative party included the pledge that “Every child will learn about mental wellbeing and the mental health risks of internet harms in the curriculum” in their manifesto.

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PLMR’s crisis communications experience is second to none, and includes pre-emptive and reactive work across traditional and social media channels. We work with a range of organisations to offer critical communication support when they are faced with difficult and challenging scenarios.