Nonprofits & Charities - The Mental Health Mindset

In partnership with Funraisin, Fifty set out to understand how the mental health conversation has evolved over the last two years so that nonprofits may better understand which audiences are driving this change in engagement.

Since COVID-19 turned the world upside down in March 2020, the UK has seen a huge rise in mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, psychosis and eating disorders, in what the NHS is referring to as ‘a second pandemic of mental health issues’. And this second pandemic isn’t limited to the UK.

The World Health Organisation has reported that the pandemic has triggered a 25% increase in the prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide, which is thought to be related to the social isolation resulting from the pandemic, as well as constraints on people’s ability to work and seek support from their communities.

If nothing else, the pandemic has served as a wake-up on mental health awareness, and the importance of opening up conversations around the issue so that they are more frequent and more inclusive.

Fifty is a technology company specialising in audience insights and digital media activation. Fifty uses AI, technology and data to transform how organisations understand their customers and power digital advertising to best engage them.

In partnership with Funraisin, Fifty set out to understand how the mental health conversation has evolved over the last two years so that nonprofits may better understand which audiences are driving this change in engagement.


We’ve grouped our findings into three key categories: 

  • Mainstream audiences - those you’d expect to see engaging with mental health charities. 
  • Growing audiences - those with an increased interest in mental health issues.
  • And declining audiences - those whose engagement has dropped off since the pandemic began.

Mainstream Audiences

Middle Class City Dwellers emerged as the number one tribe for the first time in our 2022 study, pointing to a potential link between mental health and socio-economic status. This audience shows an affinity for mainstream entertainment, embodied by Saturday Night TV personalities, such as presenters James Corden and Ant & Dec.

In contrast, Charitable Professionals, our most engaged and informed audience around mental health issues, have dropped by 7.7% since 2020. This increased presence of mainstream audiences (and decrease in more niche industry-focused audiences) reflects how mental health has transitioned from a subject discussed solely by industry professionals, to an everyday topic of conversation that is generating interest amongst wider, more commonplace audiences.

Growing Audiences

Both London Creatives and Keen Readers have both increased their involvement in mental health conversations since 2020 and made up 15.9% of the study collectively.

With key influencers including bookshops like Foyles and communities like Goodreads, Keen Readers made up 6% of the audience, whilst London Creatives with a penchant for galleries like the V&A and the Tate, made up almost 9.9% of our study. Cultured and curious, these two tribes have both increased their engagement with mental health initiatives since the pandemic began, perhaps for the ability for literature and art to address otherwise hard-to-talk-about issues such as mental health.

Tech Professionals also emerged as one of the top tribes within our study. Key influencers included tech giants like Fujitsu and Monzo, as well as SEO tool Mozan, revealing an elevated, engaged audience of innovators. With tech professionals among the most likely to suffer from mental health issues as a result of the pandemic, it is understandable why this group is engaging in more conversations around mental health online. 

Avid Gamers were another prominent tribe, which speaks to the rise in gaming as a form of stress relief during lockdown. Influencers such as Oculus, producer of virtual reality headset Quest, suggest that these audiences are seeking a form of escapism and thus turning to more immersive gaming experiences.

Declining Audiences

Although arguably one of the groups that was worst affected by the pandemic, Teachers & Educators have seen a decreased engagement with the mental health conversation since 2020, likely due to the nationwide return to schools and the end of remote learning. Naturally, this group showed a keen interest in educational resources such as BBC Education and regulatory body Ofsted, as well as children’s empowerment initiatives like This Girl Can.  

Whilst today’s Engaged Students show an increased interest in mental health initiatives compared to 2020, this key audience has the potential for further reengagement. These students have a passion for Hip-Hop and R&B, namely for artists like PartyNextDoor and SZA, as well as inspirational podcasters like Joel Olesteen. Their evident love of entertainment suggests that this audience will require messaging that is equally entertaining and engaging to encourage them to up their involvement in the mental health conversation. 

Charities that utilise Data, raise more.

Stay tuned for our follow-up piece in partnership with Fifty, which will explore the extent of donor fatigue within the charity sector and how charities can combat this fatigue with audience insights. 

You can learn more about what Funraisin does to empower charities take control of their supporter data, and drive more conversions using the links below.

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