Three Slippery Rock University students were given an Award of Excellence by the Broadcast Education Association (BEA) in August for their PSA titled “Save Someone You Love”
Elise Forry, a senior Integrated Marketing Communication Major, was one of the three students recognized by the BEA with the award. The PSA, Forry said, was part of a semester long campaign developed for an Advertising Production class.
“The organization that we were assigned was a mental health organization called ChangeDirection.org,” Forry said. “The Save Someone You Love campaign is mainly focused on identifying ways that people could be suffering from mental health issues.”
Forry said that raising awareness of such issues is beneficial both to those experiencing issues and to those who are not. The message, Forry explained, was one of empathy and understanding.
“Even in times where you maybe don’t understand directly what someone is going through, there are ways that you can help and there are signs that you and other people could pick up on,” Forry said. “By pointing out certain specific elements and changes in behavior, it’s possible to help people who may be suffering to identify things themselves or to have a friend or loved one take notice.”
Forry and her group explored a variety of mediums to transmit their message, from print ads, radio, television, surveys, and many others across the audio-visual spectrum. Forry was responsible for both the web design and graphic design content, and explained that it was her job to bring all of the team’s research and information into a cohesive, visually-pleasing whole.
The most challenging aspect, Forry said, was handling the topic of mental health with the grace and sensitivity it deserved. Mental health was a serious concern for Forry and her peers, and for more reason than just the campaign itself.
“One of our classmates unfortunately had passed away and had taken his own life this past summer, and he was supposed to be in that class,” Forry said. “It was already heavy on our hearts going into that class, and then we found out our project was going to be centered on mental health – it was a lot to take in.”
As for the BEA’s Award of Excellence, Forry and her team were both overjoyed and surprised at their success. Forry said that while she knew little about the actual selection process, it was more than a welcome surprise to see how things turned out.
“It was just a huge honor for us, we didn’t have any idea that it would go to these limits,” Forry said. “It’s great to have the recognition, but also to see how we had grown and where we still had the potential to grow.”