In our quest to speak out against the recent ads the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH) has put out for their Defeat Denial campaign, L, M, and myself have received a lot support but have also encountered people who feel these ads are not a problem (which is fine).
All advertising is interpretive. Since we all exist in our own realities that are influenced by our experiences and beliefs we all interpret advertising differently. These ads are in no way excluded.
I want to make it clear that we are not ”bashing” CAMH. Like all services, there are good and not so good things about CAMH and that is just a fact. (And people say I have black and white thinking….)
We want to offer our ideas on how to improve this campaign and as CAMH has shown they are interested in improving. Any organization that wants to last and be progressive needs to improve and grow! Suggesting improvements does not mean that CAMH is not an effective organization.
The best way to show support to an organization or to a person is to offer suggestions for improvements! I have been getting the feeling that some have believed the criticisms are an indication of being unsupportive. Even if you’ve had a positive experience with CAMH you should not see all negative comments to mean that person or group does not like CAMH. Most importantly, just because you like an organization doesn’t mean that they’re immune to making mistakes.
The one thing that has been really bothering me about sharing with others why we don’t like these ads are the “defenders”, the individuals who focus solely on what the ads mean to say. “Well the ad is just trying to say that some people need to go to the hospital and this ad could help people reach out.” I’m fine with that being the intention but good intentions shouldn’t be a get out of jail free card. I have a lot of good intentions that come out wrong and I should be called on them.
We are approaching CAMH with a list of things we LIKE and DISLIKE about the Defeat Denial campaign ads. We hope that by giving them this feedback they can modify this campaign or use the information towards future campaigns.
We’ll see how it goes. Regardless, the point is that we tried and we spoke out!