BITE’s Mental Health Awareness Week Roundup

For Mental Health Awareness Week BITE asked organisations and agencies to share their stories around mental health to encourage an ongoing open conversation.

Georgie Moreton

Deputy Editor, BITE Creativebrief


The world has gone through a shared trauma in the form of the pandemic which has changed each and every aspect of life. Pre-pandemic there was a growing focus on the importance of mental health and wellbeing, post-pandemic it's unignorable. 

In the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by a massive 25%, according to research from the World Health Organization. And, advertising and media industry wellbeing charity, NABS, this year cited an increase of 15% YoY in calls to the charity relating to mental health issues. The mental health crisis the industry faces is mounting.

At a time when our home and work lives are more intertwined than ever and when businesses encourage people to ‘bring their whole selves to work’, companies are responsible for creating an environment where people can be open, honest and thrive. As the industry faces a talent crunch the only way to retain and attract talent is bv looking after people, checking in on their well-being and abolishing the toxic past behaviours that are proven to end in burnout.

Now is the time to break the stigma around mental health and look after our people; people after all are the industry’s greatest asset.

For Mental Health Awareness Week BITE asked organisations and agencies to share their stories around mental health to encourage ongoing open conversation and see how we can learn from one another.  

BLOOM: Loss, career meltdown, ageism 

Bloom’s Karen Carter bravely shares her first-hand experiences with ageism and loss to explain how she “survived the most vicious pile-on of my life.”

BLOOM: Why companies should fully utilise their Mental Health First-Aiders 

Bloom’s Emma Flaxman outlines the duties and benefits of Mental Health First-Aiders, sharing some practical advice for agencies that she recommends must train staff and fully utilise them.

BLOOM: Love Is… Thinking Your Kid is Going to Be Eaten by Pigs

In a touching, funny, all too familiar account of motherhood, Sal Thomas shares how her everyday worries spiralled out of control and eventually led her to finding CBT to help manage.

BLOOM: One GP made the connection between the pill and my depression - and now I feel like me again 

65% of women between 15-49 are on some form of birth control, yet the link between the pill and depression is rarely discussed. Sarah Brown shares her experiences with the contraceptive pill and the way it affected her mental state.

“Let’s make sure our new world of work brings us closer”

Moving on from the pandemic is going to be a complex process. VaynerMedia Daisy Domenghini outlines the importance of taking well-being learnings from the pandemic

“We’re all human and when we’re more understanding of the needs of others, we improve performance.

Splendid’s Head of Wellbeing, Jane Latham is leading the charge on managing stress in the workplace. She outlines the importance of creating a robust emotional needs framework that helps to remind us that we are all human.

“Wellness remains at the heart of how we operate" 

As an Agency founded in rural North Devon, Bray Leino has long offered a holistic well-being element to its culture. But in 2019 that was packaged up into a cohesive programme – Wellness. Holly Cooper highlights the importance of making time for wellbeing.

Blood, sweat & tears? Mental!

The ad industry is no stranger to toxic tendencies but they must be banished for good to ensure long-term progression. Yolk’s Charlie Loft talks about the importance of adaptability and listening to employees.

"Mental health at work suffers when people don’t have a choice" 

A one-size-fits-all approach simply does not work when it comes to mental health. Grey London’s Karan Tattersfield and Sally Vincent shun outdated approaches that rely on presenteeism and champion trust.

“Encourage open and honest conversations”

From training Mental Health First Aiders to looking to external platforms, Wilderness’ Tilly Morgan shares some actionable tips and highlights the importance of communication.

This Mental Health Awareness Week, don’t forget your freelancers 

Just because freelancers are used to working without a team doesn't mean they aren’t affected. Agencies need to look after all their staff, not just permanent members they see in the office. Matthew Knight explains why we all need to play a role in supporting independent workers’ mental health.

“The key to staff well-being is to support them as human beings not just employees”

Red Brick Road’s Zoe Crowther on why balance is at the heart of the actionable change when it comes to employee wellbeing

‘Making mental health a priority at iCrossing’

Now that we’re emerging into a new world of more flexible working, it's important to have an open door, open mind, and listen to what our employees need to support their mental health, explained Sorrel Shalet, Head of People at  iCrossing UK.

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Mental Health