Unknown Together first surfaced online in 2020 as a mental health campaign launched by Thailand’s dynamic social change agency, Love Frankie. Hive Life sat down with the organisation’s Account Director, Thaniya Theungsang and Social Media Manager, Benny Sorracha, as they shared more on the essential work that goes behind their advocacy, and how they aim to make an impact nationwide.
Millions of people in Thailand are presently suffering from one or more kinds of mental health issues, with many going about their livelihoods without professional diagnosis or support. Due to the widespread stigma existing in Asian societies, such illnesses are deemed as anomalies, and often labelled as “shameful diseases” or “a phase” that shall pass. These narratives restrict many from seeking proper help, and further limit their knowledge and access to wellness facilities and resources.
Love Frankie, Thailand-based social change communication and creative agency launched Unknown Together in partnership with the United Nations Thailand, Meta, and mental health organisation Knowing Mind during the peak of the pandemic in 2020, aiming to destigmatize mental health in the local community. Within months of running, Unknown Together gained far greater momentum than initially anticipated, with an organic reach of over 11.5 million people online.
What started as a mental health campaign, took an unexpected turn, creating a limitless community that allows individuals to express themselves in a judgement-free environment, especially those who struggle with communicating and acknowledging their experiences. The social movement continues to live on through its community-focused safe space, The Nook, connecting the next million with their cause, while encouraging people to share and unburden themselves.
Hive Life caught up with Love Frankie’s Account Director, Thaniya Theungsang and Social Media Manager, Benny Sorracha, to get their insiders’ perspective on the organisation’s unique approach to the humanitarian crisis, the impact of their groundbreaking Unknown Together campaign, as well as personal tips on mental wellbeing.
Purpose-driven socialpreneurs, Matt Love and Rebecca (Frankie) Mok started Love Frankie in 2014, with a mission to bring greater societal reform across the Asia Pacific region (APAC), and beyond, by actively seeking innovative ways to change and influence individual behaviour and perception, leveraging the power of digital media. Their mental health campaign The Nook was initiated as an impact-driven pursuit dedicated to addressing various humanitarian issues in the region.
Thaniya describes Love Frankie as “an advertising creative agency that had a baby with a social impact NGO,” aspiring to build more “peaceful, equitable, and empathetic societies.”
Social media-savvy Benny, began her advocacy journey with Love Frankie in 2020, which opened her “ to a new version of the world.” She immersed herself in this revelation, constantly seeking the “whys and hows” of her impact-focused endeavours. Empowered by her dedication and social commitments as “a citizen of the world,” Benny sees her work as pivotal in communicating Love Frankie’s mission, vision, and meaning, while bringing transformative change.
“Waking up every day to see yourself as [purposeful], and having contributed value to society, is the most incredible feeling to me,” added Benny.
Thaniya, on the other hand, incorporates a more systematic approach to her work. With a “deep passion in education development, workforce development, topics on sustainability, as well as creative storytelling,” Thaniya oversees and facilitates various projects across Love Frankie’s channels, integrating breakthrough research, insights, and communications.
She described their key focus areas as “the multi-complex issues concerning different aspects of humanity- from tackling societal prejudices and inequalities, to working around human rights, digital literacy, youth empowerment, and mental health,” with an emphasis on how Love Frankie’s community projects are designed to be more “human-centric, and evidence-driven.”
The organisation collaborates with various local partners, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), academics and other creative content producers, in delivering their cutting-edge campaigns, while sparking essential conversations to prompt behavioural and societal reform.
Moreover, Love Frankie is an active member of M&C Saatchi World Services, through which they have managed to establish important connections and partnerships with multi-disciplinary teams from around the world to further expand their reach and maximise impact.
In early 2020, Love Frankie hosted a 2-day mental wellness event which brought together a massive crowd, along with many health and wellbeing professionals and experts, from psychologists, meditation coaches, yogis, and more, receiving incredible community feedback.
However, as the pandemic worsened, Thailand witnessed yet another public health emergency, resulting in the plunging mental wellbeing of the younger population. Understanding that solutions need to shift with changing demands, Love Frankie kickstarted their online campaign, Unknown Together, to further their mental health awareness initiatives and combat stigma, with Benny leading the creative concept behind The Nook, deeming it a far-reaching passion project.
The Nook’s “safe space” initiative was developed through extensive research, acting as a supportive network for individuals looking to make a positive impact. Among its many offerings, The Nook aims to build empathetic awareness and understanding towards mental health, comforting people by letting them know they are not alone in their journey.
“We try to make individuals [understand] that mental health is normal, and they should be [normalising conversations] about it in their daily lives,” Benny added, comparing the platform’s resources to the support and guidance offered by a friend.
Not only did the project stir a significant response within the local community, but the cause also played a great role in reshaping both Benny and Thaniya’s perceptions and approaches to their own mental wellbeing.
Thaniya stated how “there is no real initiative within Thailand to support youth on mental health, given the suicide rates were much higher than in many neighbouring countries in the region.” Through the Unknown Together, Thaniya got to build on her wellbeing, and that of others at Love Frankie.
Benny calls herself a “student” who is learning to express herself better through the project and her many undertakings. Like many others in Thailand, mental health was still a relatively new concept for her, that she is actively seeking to expand her understanding of.
An individual’s mental health is always a work in progress. Benny shared some key areas one could work on to improve their wellbeing, from being “empathetic listeners,” to “learning how to name your feelings” to become more aware of your internal struggles, “being kind to yourself,” and essentially, “asking for help when needed.”
Benny further encouraged individuals to “offer their support to others in your communities.”
Since the inception of Unknown Together, the movement has grown profoundly, with their online engagement reaching hundreds of thousands through their human-centric content.
Love Frankie has done imperative work in the fields of social justice and reform, gaining global reputation for their groundbreaking work and commitment to advocating for paramount issues concerning humanity.
Love Frankie aspires to continue building on its mental health efforts in Thailand and beyond, hoping to work on more collaborative efforts, normalising mental health, while pushing for more exposure and involvement with governmental institutions.
With youth being one of their major target groups, the agency aims to launch similar wellness initiatives in local schools to teach and empower them while they are still learning.