National Alliance on Mental Illness
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How to Overcome Objections from Media Gatekeepers

Objection #1:"I just don"t have enough time for all the PSAs I receive."


Recognize the pressure the station is under concerning PSA time with so many valid issues from which to choose. We just want to remind them that mental illness is an important issue. Explain the reluctance of many to discuss this issue and how that results in ignorance about the illnesses, delays in seeking help and in diagnosis, feelings of extreme isolation and often disrupted lives (see Fact Sheet). Education will encourage people to seek help and support, greatly reduce isolation, improve speed of diagnosis, sensitize the public to the importance of these illnesses and hasten the search for cures and treatments to help more people who live with mental illness.

Objection #2:"This issue is not locally relevant."


Be prepared with facts. Talk about recent tragedies that have occurred, many due to lack of understanding and lack of access to services for mental health conditions. Taking someone who lives with mental illness with you to your presentation can also bring to life that these are real issues. Reinforce the leadership role played by your NAMI Affiliate in the community. If appropriate, mention the number of members in your NAMI Affiliate and the events and programs that you offer every year.

Objection #3:"The issue does not match my station theme for this period."


Ask what the theme is. Acknowledge the difficult place you put the media gatekeeper in and assure them that the issue deserves the commitment of their station and its valuable airtime. Determine if our message can fit into an extended definition of their theme. If the objection still stands, ask when the policy is likely to change and when would be an appropriate time for NAMI to contact the station again.

Objection #4:"We need quality PSAs."


Point out that our PSA will break through the clutter because it frankly and sympathetically depicts the seriousness of mental illness. Further, it is compelling and top-rate in its production. Our NAMI PSA is of extremely high quality, and we think they will agree.

Objection #5:"Can you document the facts in you"ve presented today?"


Be prepared to leave fact sheets with the media gatekeeper.

If you need help with any of the above please contact NAMI Communications at

Resources for NAMI State Organization and NAMI Affiliate Leaders