How the Marcomms Industry Can Help Battle the Stigma of Mental Health at Work

Friday 22nd March, 2019

The Mental Health Stigma

The words Don't Forget to Take Care of Yourself on a note card pinned to a cork notice board as a reminder to look after our own mental and physical health

For some unknown reason, historically mental health has been seen as a taboo subject in society and has held a negative social stigma within the workplace. We all have mental health, and like our physical health, it can sometimes become unwell.

Often people have misconceptions about mental health and forget that it affects one in four people every year. This can vary from common problems such as depression and anxiety, to more rare problems such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Fighting the battle in the marcomms industry

The marcomms industry is well known for the long hours and high stress culture, as we work around the clock to stay current and fit to tight deadlines every day.

Alongside this, client pressures can have a huge impact on individuals in the industry as professionals feel pressured to be ‘always on’, available and responding no matter what. This means that mental illness is common within the marketing, media and public relations sector.

In the past, there has been a lack of discussion and lack of awareness surrounding this topic. Fortunately, perceptions are finally starting to change, people are seeking help, and most importantly, people are talking!

Whilst this is a positive step in the right direction, the battle is still ongoing and we believe that the marcomms industry has the power to lead the way in breaking the stigma surrounding mental health for good.

At Big Cat, we are hugely conscious of the underlying mental health problems in the industry and so have put precautions in place to make sure we can support anyone going through a difficult time and in the best way possible.

This includes our managers going on Mental Health First Aid courses, as well as simpler solutions such as creating awareness and an openness in the office so that people feel comfortable speaking to fellow colleagues. It’s amazing how much of a difference a simple but genuine ‘are you ok?’ can make, as well as the knowledge that everyone surrounding you supports you.

Using our industry to help

We can use our position in this industry to try and set an example for everybody else and lead the way forward. If we can encourage clients to talk about mental health through campaigns and social media, we can promote the positive impact that talking and being open can make. This may then encourage others to talk about it too and we can attempt to make a progressive change in society.

In light of this we can see how the media and social media are great tools to bring people together, share stories and help them realise that they are not going through their struggles alone.

Lynx campaign

Deodorant brand Lynx is a well-known, high profile brand that has used its status and large audience to create awareness and to set an example. In collaboration with CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), the company launched its #isitokforguys campaign, exposing the questions that men ask behind closed doors, alongside a campaign seeking to raise awareness of male suicide.

Champion British boxer, Anthony Joshua, took part in answering some of the most frequently asked questions that men have searched for on Google. For example, Joshua was asked what he thinks of men wearing jewellery, to which he replied that he’s a big fan. This campaign aims to create an inclusive society where everyone can be who they want to be and never feel alone.

CALM stated that working with brands has helped to increase awareness of male suicide in the UK from 19% to 43% over the last two years. These staggering statistics show how brands have the power to challenge stereotypes and make a huge impact, ultimately driving long term societal change.

Mental health doesn’t have to be a taboo subject. It shouldn’t be brushed under the carpet, a ‘no-go’ area, scary or awkward. It is possible to break this social stigma and create an open and supportive culture if we all work together and get talking.

Written by Tabitha Ives Marcomms Assistant

Friday 22nd March, 2019

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