Guest blog from Mediacom about their mental health journey, so far.
Sign up for our free Federation Members event with Mediacom on 17 July here.
Since 2017, MediaCom have been working to tackle mental health in the workplace. Given the increasing pressures on young people in today’s world, and given our youthful demographic, it was a clear priority for us.
At our very first mental health event, we invited campaigners Jonny Benjamin and Neil Laybourn to talk about the day that Jonny had decided to end his life by jumping from Waterloo bridge. Thankfully Neil stopped to talk to him. At the end of this incredibly emotional talk, there was a wave of positive feedback and a clear demand from our people that we should follow up this event with more sustained activity.
This first event grew into a series of Mental Health Weeks, during which we have explored many aspects of mental health – both by bringing in expert speakers and by sharing our own stories with each other. We have shared 22 personal MediaCom stories with the wider agency, covering Bipolar Disorder, Bulimia, Depression, Anxiety, OCD and Post-Natal Depression.
And, importantly, we have really tried to engage men in the process. We have used male speakers, sports stars and fantastic organisations like The Book of Man to appeal to a male audience. In 2017, our events had an approximate 5% male attendance and in 2018, we have seen that rise to around 20%.
But the biggest change in the agency occurred last year, when MediaCom introduced the industry’s first ever Mental Health Allies programme. With the help of our partner, Mental Health at Work, we have trained over 60 staff to be Mental Health Allies. Everyone needs support sometimes, for something simple like a stressful pitch, or for something life-altering like depression or suicidal thoughts. This is where the allies come in- to listen, signpost and keep people safe. It can simply mean lending an ear, or where necessary directing to relevant support services.
But it doesn’t stop there, our allies work daily to address the stigma of Mental Health in the agency and are identified by green lanyards so that our staff know who to connect with in difficult times.
We want MediaCom to be a place where conversations about mental health are as common and comfortable as those about physical health. And we want to equip everyone with the right language; all Managing Partner and ExCo level staff have received mental health training so that they can use (and role model) the right language, behaviour and support, as well as assisting when issues are escalated to them.
The results speak for themselves. 68% of our people are now opening up to managers, versus the 15% that Mind report open up to managers. HR. 76% of staff now believe that MediaCom encourage openness and 100% of our staff believe we share our lived experience within the agency.
We’re not experts in mental health, but we’ve come a long way and are incredibly proud of the changes we have seen within the agency and the wider industry.
On 17 July 2019, we will be hosting an event all about Mental Health in the Workplace with Mediacom. The event will be interactive, and we encourage guests to share how they are tackling this vital area.
Sign up for our free Federation Members event with Mediacom here.