Media and advertising industry mental health initiatives are starting to have an effect


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A third major study of mental health and wellbeing in the media, marketing and creative industry in Australia showed positive improvements in the effectiveness of mental health programs and a reduction in stigma.

Mental health research, conducted by Never not creative and industry social purpose organization UnLtd and supported by the Mental Health Change Groupmeasures levels of depression, anxiety and stress in the industry as well as attitudes towards mental health in the workplace.

Some 1,400 media, marketing and creative industry employees took part in the survey in August and September this year.

The study showed a 33% improvement from 2020 on both how seriously employees think their organization takes mental health and how effectively staff think their company is looking after good -mental being of staff, with 63% of the industry ranking their company’s efficiency as just to high.

However, many still report working long hours, unrealistic work expectations, not enough time to complete projects. Creative agency staff were more likely to suffer from depression than media agency staff.

Those of companies that had joined the Minimum industry standards for mental health showed significantly higher efficacy with over 82% rating efficacy as fair to high.

The results also showed a further reduction in stigma, with 49% believing people would not be treated differently if they disclosed a mental illness, a 24% improvement from 2020.

However, only 32% rated our comfort in talking to a colleague about our own mental health as good or very good.

The survey used the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS) to identify symptoms of depression and anxiety among research participants.

The results showed levels of depression had decreased, with 46% of respondents showing mild to severe symptoms of depression, down from 56% in 2020.

Along with anxiety, 46% had mild to severe anxiety symptoms, up from 52% in 2020. Those with severe anxiety signs also fell from 24% in 2020 to 14% in 2022.

For the first time since the survey began, there was a noticeable difference between industry sub-sectors, with respondents from creative agencies being twice as likely to have moderate to severe symptoms of depression as those media agencies.

The importance of training managers and leaders in mental health first aid skills and the ability to have mental health conversations was also highlighted.

In the past 12 months, 47% of respondents have consulted bosses or colleagues about mental health issues, as many as those who have consulted GPs.

Time constraints, workloads and the need for appropriate structure and resources were clear themes throughout the study.

Multiple responsibilities, unrealistic expectations and long hours were ranked among the top five stressors, along with pressure from colleagues and customers and the pressure we put on ourselves as top stressors. Only 47% of respondents believe they have enough time to do their job.

The study also looked at what employees expect from their organization in order to improve their mental well-being.

Adapted structures, empathetic and educated leaders, leaders who lead by example, flexible working conditions and clear objectives ranking in the Top 5.

Looking at the SMART Framework on designing meaningful and motivating work, respondents ranked having a strong sense of support, tolerable demands, clarity and meaning in the work they do as the most important factor for manage their mental health at work.

However, there were clear discrepancies between what they want and what they experience, especially when it comes to tolerable demands.

Overall, respondents are satisfied with many aspects of the industry – 83% felt their workplace was inclusive and felt accepted.

They are also satisfied with the people they work with (84% satisfied or very satisfied), the physical working conditions (76%), the growth of our business (66%) and the interest and skills related to the employment (68%).

Nina Nyman, CMO of UnLtd and Co-Chair of Mentally Healthy Change Group, said, “Despite the challenges of recent years, it is encouraging to see that as an industry we are taking mental health more seriously and developing programs that work.

“The purpose of the study has always been to identify problems so we can examine solutions. The results over the past two years have been consistent in showing us what our industry really wants – empathetic leaders who lead by example. , clear objectives , flexibility and appropriate resources.

Andy Wright, Founder of Never Not Creative and Co-Chair of the Mentally Healthy Change Group, said, “Each wave of the survey allows us to deepen our understanding of the mental health challenges facing our industry.

“Increasingly, it’s clear that we need to look at the underlying culture, role design and work dynamics that really haven’t changed in decades.

“We’re making great strides in prioritizing mental health, so we have to be careful to match the short-term focus with long-term, sustainable solutions. Basically, we have a shot at solving this problem. It so it’s time to do it.

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