When you think of Bioré, the generation-bridging skincare line, chances are you think of their pore strip first. A signature product and one practically synonymous with puberty thanks to its cameos in every teen movie and magazine of the aughts, the pore strip is designed to do one thing: get everything out. Today, Bioré takes that concept one step further in a partnership with Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) to bring free, in-depth mental health training to college students across the country.
The joint campaign, punnily titled Get That Sh*t Out, aims to do just that. By partnering with MHFA, an organization within the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, college and higher education students will learn skills and tools to identify, understand, and assist mental health issues and substance abuse.
The training itself is thorough and immersive, taking users through an 8-hour, multipart program that seeks to understand mental health challenges while raising awareness around potential treatment and how to get help. Topics include discussions on campus culture and environmental factors that contribute to stress and anxiety, action plans for specific scenarios, and walkthroughs of mental health resources available to individual campuses and their surrounding communities. Meanwhile, Bioré's social media channels have become a safe space for their followers (as well as Bioré team members) to open up and be vulnerable about their own challenges.
The training comes at an ideal time as many students struggle to acclimate to hybrid in-person and virtual learning alongside a global pandemic, civil unrest, racial injustices, and, of course, individual personal issues. Couple that with many students leaving home for the first time, and it can be a perfect storm for igniting new problems or exacerbating existing ones.
In fact, MHFA research indicates that 1 in 5 university students struggle with anxiety and/or depression. Leah Stone, Associate Director of Face Care at Bioré, explains that their Gen Z customer base struggles more with mental health than any generation prior. "But they're also more comfortable talking openly about their mental health challenges," she adds. "We wanted to specifically focus on normalizing mental health because one of the things that people usually see as a barrier to seeking treatment is the stigma that's typically attached." By encouraging customers and followers to get familiar with their feelings (and leading by example), the brand hopes to help erode some of that stigma.
The Mental Health First Aid program itself first launched in 2001 by an Australian nurse with a health education background, training more than 2.5 million people to date. "Mental Health First Aid encourages an open dialogue about mental health," Anne Chapman, MHFA Director of Strategic Partnerships, tells Byrdie. "Now more than ever, we need people to look after their mental health as they do their physical health — when something is off or doesn’t feel right, seek help."
Together, both Bioré and MHFA are committed to turning vulnerability into empowerment and a tool for change. And as Chapman tells it, the partnership was a natural fit from the beginning. "Bioré takes an unconventional approach to skincare, and this campaign is another example of their approach in addressing a topic that is too often swept under the rug," she says. "Getting college students to talk about their mental health is a step in the right direction. Mental health shouldn’t be an uncomfortable topic, and reducing stigma is always a good thing."
Bioré and MHFA set a goal for this program to reach 100 college campuses across the US. To sign up for the free training on behalf of Bioré, students can head to mentalhealthfirstaid.org.