JanSport launches Lighten The Load campaign during Mental Health Awareness month

JanSport, a backpacking company, has announced the launch of its #LightenTheLoad campaign with a mission to connect Generation Z with resources to help them tackle potential mental health challenges research has shown their generation is facing. Only half of the Gen Z population feel they do enough to manage their stress and three out of ten young people say they feel anxious or nervous almost every day.

Mental health doesn’t have to be a taboo topic and to kick off Mental Health Awareness Month, JanSport is creating a forum to help address these issues, so young people know they are not alone in their struggles.

With the Covid-19 pandemic, Gen Z appears to be facing unprecedented challenges, and the uncertainty can negatively impact mental health. The unknown of their futures, from securing jobs after virtual graduations to not knowing if the college they’ve chosen will be open in the fall, adds to the already prevalent stress and anxiety they feel in their daily lives.

JanSport is teaming up with mental health experts to host Instagram Live sessions where young people can tune in to an open conversation around mental health issues that directly impact Gen Z. Experts include Nedra Tawwab (@nedratawwab), a licensed therapist, sought-after relationship expert and founder of group therapy practice, Kaleidoscope Counseling, Matthew Dempsey (@mjdempseypsych), a licensed professional clinical counsellor (LPCC) specialising in sexuality, culture, confidence and everything in between, and Whitney Goodman (@sitwithwhit), a licensed marriage and family therapist who strives to make mental health information understandable and accessible.

The sessions will start in May and continue throughout the summer with topics including:

May 6, 2020 – Isolation: This isn’t just an issue during trying times like COVID-19, it has the ability to impact Gen Z’s daily lives. During this session, Whitney will dive into how to handle loneliness and the feeling of being left out in today’s world and the age of social media.

May 13, 2020 – Compassion Fatigue: Between presidential elections, climate change, and a global pandemic, there’s a lot going on right now that may be hard to process. In this session, Matthew will help explore how to stay informed and involved without feeling overwhelmed.

May 20, 2020 – Uncertainty: No one can tell the future, but together we can look to find ways to handle uncertainty. In this session, Whitney will discuss how to mentally prepare for the unknown.

May 27, 2020 – Family: Whilst families can be a great support system, they can also be a cause of stress. Watch as Nedra discusses what to do to stop arguing with family over the kitchen table.

“JanSport has been a trusted brand for young people for decades and we understand our consumers are going through unprecedented and uncertain times,” says Monica Rigali, Senior Director of Marketing at JanSport.

“Our Instagram Live conversations are just the starting point. The purpose of the Lighten The Load campaign is to drive conversations around mental health and demonstrate to Gen Z that we understand the anxiety, isolation and stress they are feeling, and we’re here to help.”

JanSport worked with Los Angeles-based creative agency, Haymaker, to ensure #LightenTheLoad had the right tone and authenticity to resonate with Gen Z. The brand is also working with Ruby Pseudo, an agency run by former Nike Consumer Insights & Ideation manager Jenny Owen, to explore different perspectives and experiences with mental health, stress and other tough emotions Gen Z is facing. This dedicated video series will highlight issues a diverse mix of young people are working through, in hopes of helping to normalise and destigmatise these issues.

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