As Mental Health Awareness Week ends, we caught up with MediaCom, one of the Federation members who are leading the way in championing mental health support in the workplace. Here's what they got up to this week. 

May 17, 2019

There is arguably nothing more important than looking after the mental health of your people. It benefits the individuals you support; it strengthens the company’s culture and it improves performance.

Like many industries, media is fast-paced, high pressured and littered with deadlines to hit. With modern life increasing the pressure on people and with mental health issues on the rise throughout society, we have become very aware that we have a duty to help support the wellbeing and mental health of our people.

Over the past couple of years we’ve been on a mental health journey. We’ve de-stigmatised talking about mental health and created a safe space to do so. A key part of our journey was introducing the Mental Health Allies scheme; we have recruited sixty people to listen, signpost and keep people safe.

The core part of being an ally is making yourself available to support others in their time of need. But for us the role has evolved to incorporate education and campaigning because we believe that changing culture and fighting stigma is vital to the wider concept of support. Continual learning is critical and that’s why this year, we asked some of the Allies to organise our Mental Health Awareness Week. The week has been incredibly insightful, with some amazing events; here’s a quick summary:

We kicked off the week with a Taster Session with Maggi Rose, Senior Facilitator at Mental Health at Work. Mental Health at Work are our partner and Maggi has been instrumental in making MediaCom an open, honest and safe place. Maggi’s session provided an overview of mental health, the correct language and approach, and how best to help and support colleagues, friends and loved ones.

Next up was In Conversation with Professor Green, in partnership with Google. Professor Green has become an advocate for talking about mental health and encouraging conversations among young men. The session covered Professor Green’s mental health journey, his life and career, and why it’s important to make time for yourself to focus on your mental health.

Session three was A Dark Mind – Mental health in the black community, based on the documentary “A Dark Mind”, which premiered yesterday. We were joined by an inspiring panel made up of Dami Adeyeye, Nimat Yaha, Shomi Williams, David Elliott and Aleah Scott, speaking about their real-life experiences and mental health in the black community. An insightful session that highlighted how communities and background affect people’s view of and approach to mental health.

Our final session of the week was Hearst and Book of Man Present: Body Image. Men’s mental health publication the Book of Man teamed up with Women’s Health to discuss all things body image. Claire Sanderson, Editor in Chief of Women’s Health showcased their recent research project around body image, ‘Project Body Love’, and Mark Sandford, Book of Man co-founder covered the pressures of body image from a man’s perspective.

It was an important week, and we hope people now have a better understanding of mental health issues that may affect them personally, or may have equipped them to better understand colleagues or loved ones. Thank you to everyone involved in organising, and a huge thank you to those at MediaCom who shared their mental health stories with the agency – let’s keep the conversation going. 

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