Former advertising executive Yvette Mayer has penned this opinion piece partly based on her experience in the advertising industry to coincide with today’s World Mental Health Day, writing that the industry desperately needs to take action…
As a senior exec, you would have to be living under a rock, not to be thinking about mental health. The instance of burnout is climbing. This year, the World Health Organisation deemed it an occupational phenomenon. I’m someone who has experienced both sides. I’ve been operational as a senior exec with large teams for over 15 years. And I’ve suffered with mental health challenges, including burnout.
Today, I openly admit, I’ve been on anti-anxiety medication for 20+ years. It took me leaving my corporate ad agency career, to say this publicly. It’s a great shame I didn’t do it sooner. That said, there’s still time for me to use my experience for good. Here’s what I know to be true. Saying you want to offer support and providing it are different matters. This isn’t an area you get to delegate. You can’t push it off by checking boxes. You can’t be too busy. Your empathy, honesty, voice and action are what’s needed most.
Earlier this year, I listened to a Triple J segment on mental health. The biggest challenge young people cite (at work) is a lack of senior management education. Their perspective was that stigma is very real, but it isn’t universal. It’s skewed with the older demographic. In the 2018 Advertising Industry study, the perceived stigma grew with ‘maturity’ too. Of those aged 17-24, 26 per cent felt an individual with mental health issues would be poorly treated (at work). That number rose to a staggering 48 per cent for those aged 45-54.
Seems not only are we less comfortable with others mental health. We’re less comfortable with our own. Which is why I’m talking to you. You, the 40+ executive, that grew up in an environment (as I did), where mental health wasn’t a topic for the office. 20 years ago when I tried the honest approach, support was non–existent. But that was a long time ago, and things have changed. So we need to change too. The fact of the matter is, if you want to show your support, YOU actually have to show your support.
Here’s what that may mean:
- Being honest about your own experiences with mental health
- Working with HR to deliver and importantly attend training tailored to senior executives
- Cascade training, ensuring middle management are equally as informed and empowered
- Share your participation with the entire business along with subsequent actions, such as…
– Develop and publish a company policy that outlines procedures
– If you’re in the ad industry, adopt (and sign) the minimum standards
– Practice what you preach
Every year one in five Australians aged 16-85 experience a mental illness. Not in their lifetime. Every year. The top three illnesses are depression, anxiety and addiction.
Over the course of our lives, personal impact is a given. We’re all different and all the same. Humans with human problems. So, look after the humans, including yourself. And be that human that leads the way in your workplace.
Please login with linkedin to commentmental health day
Canteen’s latest campaign features the combined talents of Director Luna Laure and creative agency Crater. The campaign strives to raise awareness for young people affected by cancer. The awareness campaign centres around Harry Barentson, who at 12 years of age found out his pregnant mum had cancer. While his mother fortunately survived, he lost his […]
In partnership with storytelling agency Enthral, AFL star Kevin Sheedy has voiced a video ‘Love Letter to Victoria’ using visuals to showcase the state’s natural beauty and culture. Victoria has been hit with the worst of the coronavirus pandemic compared with any other Aussie state experiencing four lockdowns. Sheedy has partnered with Ethral to share […]
Telstra’s lower-cost telco, Belong, has awarded its strategy and creative account to Howatson + White, and has reappointed OMD to its media buying account, after a competitive pitch process. Howatson + White will handle strategy, planning, creative and CRM, while former agency Clemenger will continue to have a relationship with Belong, managing PR and retail activation. […]
Coca-Cola Australia has rolled out its new campaign ‘Turn Up Your Break’. The campaign will be led by a TVC that encourages people to truly pause with a Coke on their break so they can walk away feeling refreshed and uplifted. The TVC features two busy chefs stepping outside for a break, the bustling kitchen […]
Nova 919’s Ben & Liam breakfast show announced that they’ll be throwing their support behind and raising awareness for a cause very close to their hearts, mental health. On Monday 21 June Ben Harvey and Liam Stapleton will be locked in a purpose-built glass structure, in the middle of Rundle Mall, for an entire week […]
TRENDii has announced TRENDii Ads, a new contextual advertising solution that leverages content and context to promote eCommerce products at scale around the world. TRENDii Ads is user privacy friendly and offers a new way for businesses and brands to target consumers at the moment that they are most inspired to shop. “We believe good […]
ARN and The New York Times have reached an agreement for ARN to become the advertising sales representative for The New York Times’s podcast portfolio in Australia. The deal will enable Australian brands to connect with Australian listeners to The New York Times’s most popular podcasts, such as The Daily, Serial and This American Life, […]
Verizon Media’s talent program has come to an end for the third year, closing with a hybrid pitch-off event for Musicians Making A Difference (MMAD). The Verizon Media Academy class of 2021, made up of 44 emerging leaders from across Australia and New Zealand media, advertising and marketing industry, were given just one hour to […]