Creativity Through Negativity: Why We Can’t Forget Mental Illness In The face Of COVID-19

Close-up of people communicating while sitting in circle and gesturing

In this guest post, INVNT APAC executive creative director Adam Harriden pens why amid the COVID-19 crisis, we cannot forget the existence of mental illness and how it impacts creativity… 

As we’ve shifted to this new normal of working from home, and with interactions with the ‘outside world’ pretty much a no-go, most of us are feeling pretty isolated. Even the most positive thinkers have probably felt a bit lost and lonely over the past few weeks.

We’re not sure when this situation will come to an end, when our lives will go back to normal… And we’re all pledging that we’ll never take our daily freedoms for granted again.

What’s important to recognise, is these feelings and experiences – which are new to many of us – are the norm for our friends, family members, colleagues, even the guy that makes your morning coffee just the way you like it. According to the Black Dog Institute, one in five Aussies aged between 16-85 experience a mental illness in any year. We can’t see it like we can a physical injury, but battling mental illness is a normal part of daily life for many.

Most of us are slowly adjusting to our new isolation situation, and we’ve probably got a new WFH routine in place by now. For people with a mental illness, their symptoms are only heightened. They might not contract coronavirus, but the pandemic could be dangerous in a different way.

Creativity for good

Most of us are working with clients to help them evolve and adapt during the coronavirus, so that they are living and breathing their brand purpose. We’re helping them use or transform their products and services for the greater good.

Now we need to take that one step further and look at ways we can use creativity to help people in these times of negativity, and to show the world that what we’re all experiencing right now is what people with mental illnesses go through every day.

But, how?

It’s easy for the majority of us to follow the ‘stay home’ messaging that the government, social platforms like Instagram, and countless celebrities across everything from Tik Tok to prime time TVCs are communicating. 

For mental health sufferers, we need to focus on simple but powerfully targeted messaging that resonates where it’s needed most.

This could be by devising a social campaign that reminds sufferers they aren’t alone, gaining buy-in from celebrities and influencers who suffer from mental illnesses themselves to host a virtual concert or comedy show, or as we’ve recently done, creating a socially shareable video that encourages the public to support mental health organisations during these trying times. 

There are opportunities to lend our technical and copywriting skills to help charities

launch and script virtual mental health sessions that are free of charge, and educational sessions for the loved ones of sufferers to help them provide the right support during this isolation period, or to partner with health care professionals so that they can facilitate and virtual sessions with mental health sufferers who can’t get access to support physically.

The world has come to a bit of a stop, so let’s use this as an opportunity to collaborate… And listen to the mental illnesses sufferers who are all too often silenced and forgotten. 

I live by the mantra that if we’re not doing good work, it’s not worth doing. Now is the time to step up and help those in need.



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