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Addressing Youth Mental Health During COVID-19

  • 15 Mar 2022
  • 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
  • On Your Computer

Registration is closed

Nikki Meline from the Washington State Department of Health and a team from GMMG will share insights and lessons learned from their Youth Mental Health awareness campaign that initially launched summer 2020. GMMG representatives include Melissa Simpson, Scott Stoup, Maru Becker, Leslie Tunmore and Pearl Yang.

This campaign was forged out of a desire to address growing mental health concerns with Washington teens during the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Youth suicide ideation in Washington state was at high levels prior to the pandemic and experts feared the added grief, isolation, and stress caused by COVID-19 would further exacerbate these high rates.

Utilizing an existing youth marijuana prevention campaign brand, You Can and leveraging a partnership with a youth crises hotline, Teen Link, the team was able to quickly and effectively reach Washington’s youth.

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Nikki Meline, Washington State Department of Health

Nikki Meline (she/her) is a Health Educator in the Center for Public Affairs at the Washington State Department of Health. In this role she manages the statewide marijuana prevention and education campaigns separately reaching youth, young adults, parents/influential adults and adult consumers. She also manages the tailored media marijuana prevention campaigns, reaching priority populations in Washington State. Prior to her time at the Washington State Department of Health, Nikki was a Health Educator in higher education with a focus on substance misuse prevention, suicide prevention and mental health promotion. Nikki recently completed the International Social Marketing Association’s Introduction to Social Marketing course and is a new PNSMA member. She is excited to continue to learn, grow and connect with others in the field of social marketing.


Melissa Simpson, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, GMMB

Melissa leads the public health communications work for GMMB’s Seattle office, specializing in integrated social marketing campaigns that reach key audiences through advertising, earned media, digital engagement, and innovative grassroots outreach tactics. With a particular expertise in developing substance use prevention and mental health promotion campaigns, Melissa leads work with the Washington State Department of Health and Washington Health Care Authority to prevent the use of alcohol, tobacco/vapor products, and marijuana among youth and young adults, and encourage parents to help the young people in their lives manage their emotions, build resilience, and find healthy ways to deal with stress and anxiety. Increasing access to health coverage and promoting vaccinations are other areas of focus.

Maru Becker, Senior Vice President, GMMB

Maru Becker, senior vice president at GMMB, develops strategies and leads cross-cultural communication efforts to reach priority populations for the firm’s public health, global health, and political campaigns. She has provided strategic guidance and support for clients in Washington state including the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, Health Care Authority, the Group Health Foundation, Public Health – Seattle and King County and the Washington State Department of Health; working with local media, developing messaging and strategies to reach non-English speakers, and leading targeted advertising campaigns. Maru has led communications efforts in Latin America, including support in presidential races and worked incampaign in Mexico, Guatemala, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

Scott Stroup, Vice President, GMMB

Scott Stroup, a Vice President at GMMB, has provided strategic communications counsel to a range of public health clients in Washington State, including helping the Washington State Department of Health and Washington State Health Care Authority implement statewide campaigns to promote mental health and prevent the underage use of substances, including marijuana, tobacco, and vaping. Scott’s work spans research, advertising, media buying, social media and partnership outreach, grassroots engagement, and the development of messaging and materials to reach youth, young adults, and parents of teens.

Leslie Tunmore, Vice President, GMMB

Leslie Tunmore, a Vice President at GMMB, supports various public health clients such as the Washington State Department of Health and the Washington State Health Care Authority through strategic planning, partnership engagement, content development, and social media marketing and management to educate youth and young adults on substance use prevention and mental health promotion. She brings nearly a decade of experience in issues communications to GMMB and has a strong background in project management, strategic communications, content development, and conducting research in behavioral science and health education.

Pacific Northwest Social Marketing Association (PNSMA)

1011 Western Avenue, Suite 702

Seattle, WA  98104

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