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Guest Editorial: Mental Health And The Marketplace: A Research Agenda

Journal of Consumer Marketing

Natalie Ross Adkins, Elizabeth Crosby, Justine Farrell, Jane E. Machin


When the idea for this special issue on “Mental Health and Marketing” was conceived, little did we suspect the world as we knew it was about to spin out of control because of the COVID-19 pandemic.Rather, as marketing academics long interested in the impact of stigma in the marketplace (Adkins and Ozanne, 2005; Mirabito et al., 2016; Machin et al., 2019), we saw too many consumers trapped by the functional and emotional challenges associated with mental illness (MI) and the attendant stigma (Rüsch et al., 2005).Before the pandemic, diagnosable mental health (MH) conditions affected approximately one in four people in the USA (Bagalman and Cornell, 2016); globally, over 250 million people suffered from depression alone (Dattani et al., 2018). The costs associated with MI treatments and lost productivity exceeded $2.5tn globally (Trautmann et al., 2016). Additional stressors emerged with COVID-19, exacerbating existing conditions and hurting new populations.Reported rates of MI, specifically anxiety and depression, jumped dramatically (Ettman et al., 2022). At the same time, the mental wellness economy reached over $120bn in value (Global Wellness Institute, 2021). Despite the pervasiveness, high cost and market value surrounding mental illness and mental health (MI/MH), the marketing literature is nearly void of research into how these concepts are impacted by marketing actions or how these concepts impact the marketplace and the consumer experience.Hence, the call for papers that examine the intersection of marketing with MI/MH.


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