Industry Initiatives

10 Aug 2019

Agency CEOs share their mental health stories

The Mentally Healthy Change Group, a collective of leaders in the creative, media and marketing industry, has launched the ‘Heart On My Sleeve’ storybook to help remove stigma around mental health in the industry.

The results from the Mentally Healthy 2018 study into mental health within the industry revealed that 56 per cent of participants showed signs of depression, 55 per cent anxiety, and 57 per cent stress - all notably higher than the general population. The study also highlighted a stigma issue - whilst 89% would be happy to work with someone who has been diagnosed with depression, only 29% would tell if they themselves had been diagnosed with depression.

Following the results, a group of leaders across the industry have formed The Mentally Healthy Change Group (MHCG) to help improve our levels of mental health and to empower the industry to smash the stigma around mental health. The group is working on various projects with the ‘Heart on My Sleeve’ book being one of the first projects to launch.

The Heart On My Sleeve storybook is a brave collection of first-person experiences from CEOs and leaders of the industry speaking openly about mental health and the importance of discussing it.

Nina Nyman, CMO of UnLtd and Co-Chair of the MHCG explains: “In the storybook, you will find real and raw stories from some of the most senior leaders in our industry, opening up about their challenges with mental health. The storybook aims to show that mental health is something that impacts all of us across all levels and that it’s a strength to ask for help and put your own mental health as a priority. We hope that by reading the stories of others, we all feel more comfortable to speak up when we need help.”

Andy Wright, Founder of Never Not Creative and Co-Chair of the MHCG added: “It's incredible to see so many high profile and influential leaders in our industry take the lead in sharing their stories. Whilst our awareness of mental health is increasing, particularly with the success of campaigns such as RUOK?
Day, we hope to take this one step further within the industry and make it ok to say when you aren’t ok.”

The storybook will be launched at the Advertising Week APAC in Sydney on Wednesday 31st July with a panel session ‘Mental Health: The Industry's Big Issue’ designed to discuss how to improve mental health in the industry.

Mitch Wallis, Founder of Heart On My Sleeve said: “I can’t think of an example in any other sector in Australia or globally, where the CEO’s of an industry get together and expose the deepest most vulnerable parts of themselves in order to lead by example to advocate for mental health. It’s hard to put into words how proud this makes me. This is what change looks like. This is what progress looks like.

The book is available at: https://issuu.com/unltdaus/docs/heart_on_my_sleeve...

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