We can all help change the conversation about mental health.


at 3 February this year, work out I posted an article I originally wrote as a blog for my colleagues on Channel 4 to let me know that I have depression.

My intentions were double. First, I help myself by ending up hiding it for years that have harmed me personally and professionally. Second, we strive to help our industry peers who are experiencing mental health issues by normalizing the conversation.

The reviews I’ve received have been overwhelmingly positive, but I have a deep feeling that the creative industry is lagging behind when it comes to mental health. We can all play a part in changing that.

when i reposted work out I got hundreds of likes, shares and messages. Much of the latter was very personal, with some well-known people in our industry talking about their mental health issues that weren’t in the public domain.

I certainly did agree with my hypothesis that “creativity, idea generators, great communicators at work, party life and soul … the weight of expectations” make it particularly difficult to disclose about depression or the soul. Anxiety in the creative, media and marketing worlds.

An All In study conducted by ISBA, AA, IPA and Kantar found that 12% of industry workers reported having mental health problems. This is equivalent to one-eighth.

A recent YouGov survey found that nationally, this figure is close to a quarter and double the amount published on All In. Even more worrisome is that for those between the ages of 18 and 24, typically the people we introduce into the industry, that number is half that.

It’s more likely that working in advertising is a panacea for mental health, or that many of us feel unable to answer honestly. Unfortunately, people who contacted me often expressed that they couldn’t share their experiences at work. I know that’s true because I was one. I have work to do.

Stand up and count when we talk about mental health.

This Mental Health Awareness Week, I urge all leaders in our sector to stand up and stand up.

Set an example by making the conversation about mental well-being the norm.

Ask questions about well-being and mental health in employee surveys and work to create an environment where employees can share that data securely.

Act on the insights this provides to improve support for your employees and show that you are listening to their concerns.

Introduce policies and supports that help employees feel possible without being judged.

Implement an all-in action plan in your organization. On Channel 4, we benefited a lot from our all-in data, helped identify areas for improvement, and provided benchmarks and advice from others.

We hold listening sessions with our employees to hear their stories and experiences.

Educate mental health first aid across your business and consider forming a mental health staff resource group.

Most of all, educate yourself on how to get more support.

Are there any sounds you can’t achieve? I don’t believe so.

Say hello to people and listen to them

The most common question I get is how to support someone with a mental health problem. According to the same YouGov survey, 63% of us personally know someone in such a situation. Most of us want to help a loved one, but 39% feel we are not prepared to do so.

Thankfully, there is a clear first step. Ask them how they are doing and listen. Research shows that speaking and listening can be helpful. And you don’t need to be an expert or give advice, just pay attention and listen.

After listening, you can direct your friends, colleagues, or loved ones to seek expert advice. You can offer them to see their GP or use them online NHS Resources or more information mental or Samaritan. They can contact advertising and media industry support organizations. NABS, to anyone in need of advice on well-being, including mental health. These organizations also provide advice in supporting others. mover.

On the positive side, one of my best friends of 30 years told me that I had been feeling bad for a while. A week later they have already started their journey. I was partly ashamed that I didn’t know anything about it and partly glad that I urged someone to help.

If everyone reading this could change someone else’s life for the better, we would soon be in a much better position.

Zaid Al-Qassab is Channel 4’s Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Inclusion and Diversity.

This is the second article on mental health that he wrote to help others in our industry and published in commemoration of Mental Health Awareness Week. His first article on February 3 coincided with Time To Talk Day run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

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