Social marketing and study: you never know where it might take you!

I have worked as a registered mental health nurse for more than 20 years. In 2009, it came as a bit of a shock to find myself undertaking a master's degree in health studies. I flew through some of the modules (independent studies) and struggled with other elements (health economics). One module that I had no prior knowledge of, but to my surprise, I really enjoyed, was social marketing.

Working with a specialist midwife and a group of young parents the social marketing campaign resulted in the development of a leaflet to raise awareness of the importance of bonding. There were unexpected, but pleasant, side effects of creating this leaflet. Although the leaflet was intended be given to only young parents, feedback from the parents and local midwives recommended that it be given to all prospective parents. Funding was obtained by maternity staff and leaflets were printed in bulk to be given out at antenatal appointments.

In addition, I had an abstract for a poster presentation accepted for the World Social Marketing conference – in Toronto! I was fortunate to get funding from a local charity and flew to and from Canada taking my rolled up poster through various airport security checks. Then I presented a workshop at the RCN International Research Conference in Glasgow, 2014, which led to writing an article on my work and this blog. Last year I was also fortunate to present a poster on my dissertation at the World Association of Infant Mental Health conference. This one was only two hours away in Edinburgh but still a huge honour.

So my recommendation is this: social marketing can and does change practice.

And have a go at study, you never know where it might take you.

Further reading
Bonding for Brilliant Babies: promoting infant mental health through social marketing
Primary Health Care. Published in print: 01 May 2015

About the author

Lynn Cuddihy is a primary mental health work lead at NHS Dumfries and Galloway