Communication strategies: Guidelines and tools
We want to support your work preventing substance use and promoting mental health in our communities across Washington State.
Whether you are bringing a state sponsored or national campaign to your community, or designing your own messaging, the tools below can help your coalition develop clear and effective social marketing messages. Below you will find resources for writing a communications plan, along with campaign resources and tools to help make the most of your efforts.
For assistance and messaging guidance, connect with your DBHR Manager.
Create a communications plan that will guide your campaign based on the change you want to see in your community, the audience you want to influence and the resources you can leverage. Below we have collected a number of resources to maximize your prevention efforts.
To get started drafting a communication plan, use this communication plan template.
Our communication campaigns support the behavioral changes we want to see in our communities. To get at the heart of behavioral change for your target audience, consider these social marketing planning questions.
For resources about developing effective messaging, check out the following tools:
- Prevention Tools: What Works
- Video: Evidence-based Prevention Tools: What Works
- CDC's Health Communications Planning and Tools
- Tips for Effective Messages
- NPN's What Works in Health Communications
- Social Media Guide
- Conscious Style Guide - The essential guide to conscious language to help writers think critically about using language—including words, portrayals, framing, and representation—to empower instead of limit.
The intent of social norms marketing is to promote accurate and healthy norms that are often underestimated. According to the social norms approach, when individuals incorrectly perceive that most of their peers engage in a problem behavior, they are more likely to engage in that behavior themselves. Social norms messages aim to correct those misperceptions.
We encourage Community Prevention and Wellness Initiative (CPWI) coalitions and other partners to support these campaigns in your community. The following list of campaigns are approved with DBHR funds and materials do not need to be reviewed before dissemination.
For Our Lives
The For Our Lives fentanyl prevention campaign is designed to inform and educate tribal communities about opioid misuse prevention, overdose response, and treatment while recognizing native culture and identities as sources of strength and protection. For Our Lives campaign materials can be used to share the facts about opioids with young people and others and educate community members about reducing access through safe storage and disposal of unneeded prescription medications.
Friends for Life
CPWI and CBO prevention providers may implement the upstream prevention materials Friends for Life campaign materials utilizing SOR, GFS, and SABG funding. The prevention materials that are allowable with this funding can be found on the prevention partners page. If you have questions, please contact your prevention manager.
|teens and parents/caregivers
Not A Moment Wasted
|substance use disorder prevention and general wellness
Social media opioid awareness campaign
|opioids and prescription drugs
Starts with One
|opioids and prescription drugs
|young adults, parents/caregivers, and older adults
Start Talking Now
|underage drinking and youth marijuana use, general wellness
|Washington Healthy Youth Coalition, DBHR, DOH
"Talk. They Hear You."
Tribal Opioid Solutions
|opioids and prescription drugs
Under the Influence...of You
|parents/caregivers and influential adults
Materials developed by Partnership to End Addiction (formerly Partnership for Drug-Free Kids)
|Partnership to End Addiction
Materials developed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
If these campaigns do not meet your community's needs, or if you have ideas about localizing the messaging of existing campaign, before obligating funding, connect with your prevention manager to discuss your reasons for developing a new message or product. They can support your efforts to develop a purposeful and cost-effective campaign.
In 2019, the FrameWorks, Institute provided training on tested ways to describe and "frame" substance use disorder prevention and mental health promotion to community members, key leaders and stakeholders. Tested values include Human Potential and Moral Responsibility for Youth. Developed metaphors for communicating these values include Construction and Boiling Over. Learn more from the presentations listed below:
- Finding the Right Frame: Building public understanding of adolescent substance use presentation - May 29, 2019
- Telling the Washington State prevention story: A strategic communication workshop - June 19, 2019
- Changing the conversation about prevention: Taking every opportunity to reframe presentation - November 4, 2019
Coalitions are encouraged to publicize key events, accomplishments, and results of local and state surveys, such as the Washington Healthy Youth Survey. New CPWI coalitions are also required to issue a news release to announce their services and contact information to their communities.
A sample news release template is provided on page 64 of the CPWI Community Coalition Guide.
SAMHSA has also developed their own strategies for working with news media to support community prevention efforts.
Health Care Authority (HCA) logo
When you use HCA’s logo, you’re representing the agency. We want to help you use it well. See the tips below to answer common questions about logo use and co-branding.
When to use
HCA should be cited as the funding source in news releases, publications, and campaign messages created with HCA/DBHR funding. You can either state the funding source as “Washington State Health Care Authority” or use the logo in place of a citation.
For letter- or legal-size paper, portrait orientation, the HCA logo size should be between 2 and 2.25 inches. For letter- or legal-size paper, landscape orientation, the HCA logo size is typically 2.5 inches.
Clear space is the area around the HCA logo that must be free of any other logos, graphics, borders, or text. This ensures that the HCA logo is easily recognized. The clear space for HCA's logo should be ¼ of an inch above, below, and on both sides of the logo.
Black or color logo?
- Use a black version of the HCA logo if the document has no color other than black.
- Use the color version of the HCA logo if you are using color photos, graphs, charts, or color headings.
The list of "please don'ts!"
- Copy the HCA logo from the website and use it in a document, such as a Word document or Excel file. Logos taken from the web won't reproduce clearly in documents, especially documents that could be printed.
- Change the HCA logo—please don’t modify the colors, typefaces, or size of any part of the HCA logo, or add visual effects such as drop shadows.
- Try to re-create or match the original artwork.
- Add text or visuals directly below the HCA logo. (See Clear space above.)
- Distort the HCA logo by stretching it.
- Place the HCA logo on a competing background, such as a pattern or photo that would obscure it.