Boys and Girls Club of Central Ohio

Developing a Strategic Media Outreach Campaign for Youth Suicide Prevention

The Project

Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Ohio provides comprehensive youth development and guidance through high-quality after-school and summer programming for youth and teens. The organization’s mission is to enable all young people to reach their full potential.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Ohio sought to raise awareness for their efforts to support the mental health of youth Club members, especially as it relates to addressing suicidal thoughts and tendencies. The issue is of primary importance as suicide has become the second leading cause of death among teens in the U.S. and the pandemic only compounded the troubling trend.

The objectives for the campaign were two-fold – to raise overall awareness of the organization’s holistic youth development programming supporting the whole student, as well as establish Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Ohio as a valuable thought leader, driving change at the grassroots level. Tactical goals to support this effort included securing at least two prominent media mentions highlighting the organization’s work, as well as engaging trusted community partners to secure a prominent speaking opportunity.

The strategic approach included planning an in-depth Dispatch article featuring a humaninterest element as well as coordinating interviews with Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Ohio CEO Doug Wolf and Dr. John Ackerman of Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

The earned media coverage was coupled with a public speaking opportunity for Wolf and Dr. Ackerman. The Columbus Metropolitan Club was approached by Inspire with a relevant and timely topic idea that aligned with Suicide Prevention Month in September 2022. Inspire worked collaboratively with Columbus Metropolitan Club and other participating panelists to flesh out the forum discussion, ensuring the right mix of panelists, reviewing questions and scripts and ensuring Wolf and Dr. Ackerman were well prepared to deliver strong, values-based messages to highlight the organization’s efforts.

The Results

By leveraging deep relationships with the media and community thought leaders, Inspire secured a front-page cover story in the Columbus Dispatch in May 2022. The story, “Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Ohio help struggling youth with suicide prevention program” also ran online and received more than 2.7 million impressions.

The coverage was a strong precursor to the panel discussion that was hosted by the Columbus Metropolitan Club in September, during National Suicide Prevention Month. The forum, “Hidden in Plain Sight: Ohio’s Suicide Epidemic” was widely attended by nearly 180 community and business leaders and further positioned Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Ohio as an authority on holistic youth development.

The panel discussion was streamed on the Columbus Metropolitan Club website and was shared on their YouTube channel, receiving 167 views - Hidden in Plain Sight: Ohio’s Suicide Epidemic - YouTube.

The forum also ran on WCBE radio, the local NPR station, garnering an additional 15,200