Preventative Campaign Invests in Connections
Now for Future Health Payoffs

Executive Summary:

The 2018 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey confirmed that unhealthy behaviors were rising among Colorado teens and young adults. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) funded a groundbreaking campaign to work upstream to prevent risky behaviors before they start.

CDPHE and CDHS selected SE2 to lead the statewide campaign’s planning, development, and execution. SE2 conducted formative research – touring the state to talk to over 200 young people – to understand their challenges and concerns. SE2 used the findings of the research to develop the Forward Together campaign.

This upstream prevention campaign helps young people feel more connected – to peers, parents, and other trusted adults — because research shows that youth who are connected to positive relationships are less likely to use substances (e.g., drinking, marijuana, tobacco, opioids), engage in risky health behaviors (e.g., unprotected sex), or experience depression.

Forward Together reaches both youth and parents/trusted adults to achieve the campaign objectives. Campaign messages are disseminated through a robust paid media campaign that uses an integrated media approach – including broadcast and streaming TV and radio, targeted social media placements, digital display and search, outdoor advertising). We also collaborate with partner organizations across the state by offering mini-grants that help partners promote campaign messages and materials in ways that they think will work best for their community.

The campaign is developed in collaboration with our on-staff youth advisors and a network of young people across the state. These young people represent intersectional demographics (e.g., LBGTQ+ Black youth, rural Hispanic young adults). Their input and insights help guide campaign strategy, messaging and outreach materials.
The campaign also addresses substance use and harm reduction strategies to help young people be safe and healthy.

Parent & Youth Video Spots


A third-party evaluation of the campaign has shown that nearly 80% of Colorado youth and 40% of Colorado parents are aware of the Forward Together campaign.

In the first two years of the campaign, there have been 756,000 sessions and 461,000 users on the youth website. The campaign videos for youth have been viewed over 13 million times and nearly 14,000 young people have engaged with campaign content on TikTok, Snapchat, etc.