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Sustainability
15/09/2021

The idea of the Unbreakable campaign Hemofarm Foundation was born from the support of employees when they needed it the most, during the pandemic. The pressure the employees were facing at that time was severe - They worked 24 hours, 7 days, in 4 shifts to make large quantities of medicine for everyone who needed it. In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 being followed by an epidemic of mental disorders, Hemofarm Foundation, together with the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, created a national campaign in Serbia, called the Unbreakable.

Background and motivation: Time of crisis and depression, without solidarity

The Unbreakable campaign was launched in April 2021 for the purpose of preserving mental health, fighting depression and stigma, and providing psycho-social support to people. [1]

The campaign was recognized and supported by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Serbia.

Research shows that 1 in 4 people around the world is affected by some form of depression, involving either emotional, motivational, cognitive, or somatic symptoms, such as depressed mood, loss of interest and satisfaction, decreased energy, a feeling of guilt, helplessness, low self-esteem, sleep and appetite disorders, poor concentration, and dark thoughts, to name just a few. Depression does not recognize gender, social class, intellectual level, or even age, which is why it is increasingly seen in young people who are just beginning to mature.[2]

In Serbia, exacerbated by the COVID crisis, 28.9% of the population reported having symptoms of moderate to severe depression. [3] People hide their symptoms for fear of being condemned by society, or because they refuse to accept the facts, or simply because they lack information about the effects or side effects of this disease.

Campaign, outcomes, and positive impact on society

Billboards with the messages, “Watch out, fragile” and “Don't let it break you,” visible in 18 cities in Serbia, announced the launch of the campaign and promoted a free and anonymous SOS phone line to fight depression.[4] Help and support were made available via email (podrska@nesalomivi.rs and pokret@nesalomivi.rs), the website www.nesalomivi.rs, and via the social media pages of the foundation and the campaign. The Unbreakable campaign website contains texts and advice from experts for improving psycho-social health, confessions of people who are struggling with depression, FAQs and answers about depression, “A Cup of Coffee with a Psychologist” sessions, as well as addresses of mental healthcare facilities in Serbia.

The Unbreakable campaign raised awareness for fighting depression and the associated stigma, and within the first nine months it achieved the following:

  • it is assumed that total reach of the campaign exceeded one million contacts #references
  • nearly 9,000 inquiries were reaching the SOS line, e-mails and social media channels
  • 40 statements about the fight against depression were published on the Unbreakable website, together with 26 blogs on key topics of mental health
  • TV stations with national and cable coverage announced the launch of the campaign in their prime-time news shows [6]

 

Unbreakable campaign image

The engagement of prominent professors, academics, doctors and influencers who shared their personal experiences through blogs on fighting depression attracted additional attention.

The American Chamber of Commerce of Serbia, the American Chamber of Commerce Europe, the German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce, the Donors and Foundations Networks in Europe (Dafne) and the Serbian Philanthropy Forum supported the Unbreakable movement, together with NGOs, to raise awareness on this topic. 

The success of the Unbreakable campaign stems from its timely recognition of the importance of mental health as a topic of public interest, and the lack of local initiatives in this area. [7]

The Unbreakable campaign was awarded[8] at international and local competitions and marketing festivals.

References

[1] An initial idea for the project came from the intention to offer Hemofarm’s and STADA’s employees a safe and supporting working environment, especially to those who felt under pressure after the lockdown due to coronavirus pandemic.

[2] It is invisible to X-rays, tasteless and odorless, it attacks insidiously, and a victim often becomes aware of it only after becoming significantly contaminated by its toxic effects. Suicide is the second most common cause of death in the population between 15 and 29 years of age. Reference: Institute of Public Health of Serbia Dr Milan Jovanovic BATUT / the World Mental Health Day 2019 - https://www.zdravlje.org.rs/index.php/aktuelne-vesti/815-svetski-dan-mentalnog-zdravlja-2019

[3] The information was published on the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Belgrade website (http://reff.f.bg.ac.rs/handle/123456789/3298) referring to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2021, 18, 4, MDPI, Basel, Switzerland (DOI: 10.3390/ijerph18041957, ISSN: 1660-4601, PubMed: 33671432, WoS: 000623528000001, Scopus: 2-s2.0-85101188061).

[4] The line 0800 001 002 was operational 24/7, and 40 psychologists and psychiatrists from the Special Hospitals for Psychiatric Diseases in Vršac, Gornja Toponica, Kovin, and Novi Kneževac provided assistance and support.

[5] From April 26th to December 31st, 2021, there were more than 10,000,000 total impressions on the Unbreakable Facebook page, together with almost 6,000,000 total impressions on its Instagram profile, and more than 100,000 views of the campaign’s videos on its YouTube channel. Estimations made on the data from the Unbreakable Facebook and Instagram pages analytics. Potential double counting included in the estimations.

[6] All data taken from the estimations from the reports of marketing and digital agencies involved in implementing the project (i.e., New Moment New Ideas, Belgrade, etc.); TVC reach estimated on the average reach of the prime-time news TV show on Serbian national television.

[7] This project has potential for being replicated in other countries where STADA operates in the context of its more holistic approach of caring for people’s health.

[8] As stated on Hemofarm Foundation’s website: www.fondacijahemofarm.org.rs/eng/nagrade.