Commentary

Behind The Campaign: EduBurdie Addresses College Students' Mental Health


EduBirdie, which provides writing and editing services for often stressed-out college students, has teamed with iconic graffiti artist Lady Pink to draw attention to academic burnout through four murals in the New York metro area.

All the murals include the hashtag #wayoutofburnout, but each is different otherwise.

Brooklyn’s mural equates the academic journey to a difficult maze and advises, “Ask for help before you feel there’s no way out.”

In Poughkeepsie, the academic journey is compared to an ocean with dangerous waves and the message, “Don’t drown in the Academic Ocean. Ride your wave.”

“Never too young to experience burnout” reads a mural in Astoria, Queens, and “Disconnect to reconnect” is the message in Kingston.

The campaign also includes #wayoutofburnout videos on social media.

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A recent EduBirdie study of 5,274 U.S. college students found 61% have experienced anxiety and sleep problems, 48% have missed classes or pretended to be sick due to academic stress, 14% report being “on edge,” and 9% have even intentionally injured themselves.

That study helped form the basis of the campaign. Avery Morgan, EduBirdie’s chief communications officer, explains, in the Q&A that follows (edited for length and clarity):

Pharma & Health Insider: How did EduBirdie come up with the mural idea?

Avery Morgan: EduBirdie developed the mural idea by closely working with students and understanding their concerns, difficulties, and struggles.

Our research team discovered alarming statistics about academic burnout and its negative impact on student success. EduBirdie collaborated with Lady Pink's team to deliver essential messages through art -- not to scare but to draw public attention. 

The problem of burnout is real, so we decided to make something real as well and go offline with the campaign. Street art and murals are close to the student community.  

Pharma & Health Insider: Why did you choose the New York area?

Morgan:. More respondents studied in the New York area than in other parts.

Pharma & Health Insider: Do you plan additional murals elsewhere?

Morgan: The precise format we will follow to support the discussion about the seriousness of student burnout might include more murals, online or offline activities, and digital campaigns.

Pharma & Health Insider: How did you create the messages on the murals?

Morgan: Our marketing team developed ideas for discussing the problem. Our research results and the alarming data from reputable organizations clarified what things to consider. We aimed to show burnout issues from different sides.

Pharma & Health Insider Will the murals be permanent?

Morgan: The permissions say they must remain on the walls for at least a year. Copyrights to the murals are maintained by EduBirdie indefinitely. 

Pharma & Health Insider: What is EduBirdie's goal with #wayoutofburnout?

Morgan: This campaign aims to draw attention to the growing problem of academic burnout. #WayOutOfBurnout is about finding ways to cope with the problem.

By working with young students, we've seen these struggles firsthand.

EduBirdie positions itself as an all-in-one website for all student needs, and this is one more campaign about helping those in need. It's about asking for help when you feel like you're on the edge. 

Pharma & Health Insider: When did the murals go up, and what results have you seen so far?

Morgan: Our murals first appeared at the end of April in Kingston, a few weeks later in Poughkeepsie, and the final mural emerged in mid-May. We created an informational landing page with research information and tips. We also engaged students and opinion leaders to share their personal stories under the hashtag on social media. 

The campaign has resonated deeply with students. For now, we have over half-a-million views of the videos, and people continue sharing their stories on Instagram and TikTok.

Pharma & Health Insider: Because of the nature of your business, do you have a front row seat to students' mental health problems?

Morgan: We deal with students' problems and worries daily. The students who contact us for help are not party people who don't care about their academic tasks. These individuals often have part-time jobs, families, and dozens of other reasons leading to overload and burnout. We communicate with them through the support team, in socials, and directly. It helps us to feel their worries and pains better.

If we cannot help directly, we can at least show direction, help to draw attention, increase awareness, and make them feel supported. You need to conduct the delicate conversation in a way that does not insist or bother but rather facilitates and reminds them of important and real things.

 

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