You can help make a difference.
We have a real challenge in the workplace generally around mental health – how to approach the subject – how to deal with it – how to avoid it. This is also true in the marketing agency world.
There is no getting away from it – it is a difficult and sensitive subject. We are dealing with human emotions here and normally very strong and powerful emotions at that.
As a community I believe that we have a responsibility to address this challenge, and I would like as many agency owners (Agency Local members and non members) to come together to discuss and work through the challenges.
Mental Health operates on three levels:
1. Agency Owner – Being a leader of a business (however small or large) can have a big impact on you personally. The responsibility, the challenges, the impact on time and personal life. Your own personal health and wellbeing is imperative.
2. Workforce – As an agency owner you have an obligation to look after your employees and your workforce. Often Mental Health issues are not overtly visible, sometimes the culture means the workers do not feel comfortable to open up, they don’t want to be judged or to be seen to be weak. You define the workplace – it is upto you to create the right environment.
3. Others around us
Mental health is just you and your workforce. It applies to everyone around you. In business terms – others you interact with – colleagues, suppliers, partners, associates as well as you friends and family.
Agencies handle this area in different ways. I believe that there are four types of agency workplaces:
Ignorance – Are not aware of the impact of mental health on themselves, their workforce and their suppliers and partners – they simply don’t know about it or address it in any way.
Ignore – Are aware of the challenge and situation but choose to nothing about it
Intention – Have realised the situation and that it is an issue but don’t know how to deal with it.
Action – those that are taking steps to create a safer workspace where the issue is in the open
Unfortunately there are not too many in the later category. Our aim is to move Ignorance and Ignore into a state of Intention and to move those in Intention to Action.
May is Mental Health awareness month and in the UK we have Mental health Awareness week in May 9th – 15th.
At Agency Local we are dedicating the month of May to this subject and we have 4 objectives:
Raise awareness of mental health and the issues around it
Have the open discussion to increase understanding
Highlight practical ways to help yourself
Create guidelines to help agencies on the journey to creating the right workspace
This needs to be more than awareness, more than discussion – it needs to be focused on Action.
That is why at the end of May I hope to publish Guidelines for Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Agency Workspace.
We have lined up a series of events on each Thursday throughout May. We have invited knowledgeable people to come along and share their knowledge and expertise.
I need your help, in terms of your input, your ideas, your views and your knowledge to work with us all to shape this agenda.
I would like your participation at as many of the events as possible.
I would like you to bring along other Agency Owners to join in the discussion
I want to hear your thoughts and views
We have the following calendar of events
5th – Round the Campfire – Special event to hear real life stories and discuss triggers and causes.
Awareness of the impact of Mental Health challenges.
12th – Ask the Expert – Self care and personal wellness
Talks from four experts on looking after yourselves.
19th – Insight Event – Creating the wellbeing workplace
Keynote speakers will be talking about how we can create the right environment within our agencies.
26th – Workshop – Developing the Wellbeing guidelines for the agency workplace
The output for the month – we need your input to develop guidelines and best practise.
Lindengate – Charity Lindengate Mental Health Charity,
The Special events will be open to all. The normal Agency Local events that are chargeable to non members will remain chargeable however 100% of the proceeds will be donated to Lindengate.
We will be asking all members and non members to make a donation to support this charity.
Firstly they are an amazing charity in the Mental Health space.
Secondly, Agency Local Member and longtime supporter, Owen Hughes and his wife, Charlie are cycling London to Paris to raise money for Lindengate so we will be supporting them and the charity. Charlie, also works for Lindengate. So it’s a win – win – win!
We look forward to you participating and helping to make our sector a stronger and healthy area to work.
More information can be found here.