Thought Leadership

World Mental Health Day

We held a special series of events in our main London office to raise awareness of the importance of looking after your mental health, taking steps to end the stigma around talking about mental health at work.

Becca-Jane Schofield, M&C Saatchi

Social Media Manager

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M&C Saatchi - World Mental Health Day

Stress and mental ill health are having a big impact on the advertising industry. In a recent survey from NABS, more than 60% of people working in advertising said their work had a negative impact on their mental health. And the CIPR’s #FutureProof report found that 30% of employees in PR described their job as “unhappy” or “not at all happy”. We know that to be our best, at home or at work, we need to feel our best too. But it’s hard to feel your best when you can’t talk about how you’re feeling.

That’s why on World Mental Health Day this year, we held a special series of events in our main London office to help raise awareness of the importance of looking after your mental health and taking steps to end the stigma around talking about mental health at work. Throughout the day we collected money for mental health charity CALM, an organisation that holds special importance for many of our colleagues and that our Sports & Entertainment agency has worked closely with.

We started the day with a talk from Becca-Jane Schofield, head of the M&C Saatchi: Together network, giving an overview of the impact mental ill health and substance abuse is having in the advertising industry. This was followed by a session of yoga with Trisha Champaneri. We ran sessions of Mindfulness with Jo Kaye from The Breathing Academy and Meditation with Jamie Hughes from Qi Tribe. Employees could also decompress with an invigorating boxing session in collaboration with Sweaty Betty. We brought employees together at lunch time with a Mind-Full Supper as we raised money for mental health charity Mind.

On the day, we were also excited to announce the launch of the M&C Saatchi: Together network which aims to increase positive wellbeing for every employee at M&C Saatchi London, no matter what their role. The network is formed of a group of employees from different agencies within the group. The network is working closely with employees, managers and senior leadership, alongside the HR team, to help promote positive wellbeing, as well as raising awareness of issues like mental ill health, addiction and substance abuse, and ensuring all employees can access support should they need it.

SPEAKERS

Becca-Jane Schofield, Head of Together Network, M&C Saatchi

Jo Kaye, The Breathing Academy

Trisha Champaneri, TC Yoga

Jamie Hughes, Qi Tribe

Key take outs:

  • Conversations are important. There are resources out there to help us feel comfortable talking about mental health at work, e.g. the recently launched Mental Health At Work portal, but it can be hard to know how to find them. We’ve made plans to add these resources to our central HR system, as well as organising training for line managers, and specially created resources directing employees to support networks.
  • Rest and recharge. Throughout the day we had opportunities for employees to take a moment to step away from their desk and catch their breath. Their feedback was that after the break, they felt better able to get back to work and be creative.
  • Find senior support. By working closely with senior leadership in the lead up to the event and having their open support on the day, we signalled to the whole company that participation wasn’t something to shy away from.
  • Start the conversation. It can be hard to talk about mental health in the workplace and starting the conversation can feel like a big step. There is an appetite to talk about mental health and end the stigma that surrounds it in the work place. We just need to start the conversation.
  • This is the start of something special. Our World Mental Health Day was a big success. It started conversations, helped employees feel comfortable opening up and let them know where in the building they could find support. But it can’t end here. The M&C Saatchi: Together network is already planning to make sure we maintain our momentum, and work with every employee in our group, at every level, to end the stigma around mental health together.

CONTACT

Lydia Smith, New Business Director, M&C Saatchi, lydia.smith@mcsaatchi.com

Guest Author

Becca-Jane Schofield, M&C Saatchi

Social Media Manager,

About

Becca-Jane believes passionately in the power of social media to create positive change for the future. After starting her career working in the third sector for organisations including Mental Health First Aid England, she transitioned to working in the advertising industry where she now continues her mission to use social media to effect world change with the M&C Saatchi World Services agency. In 2018 she founded the M&C Saatchi: Together network, which aims to promote positive well-being for employees throughout the business.


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