First-ever mental health minimum standards introduced for industry

The first-ever minimum standards for mental health in the creative, media and marketing industry have been introduced by the Mentally Healthy Change Group, a collection of industry leaders.

The minimum standards, based on legislation, academic research and advice from health professionals, will act as a benchmark and encourage businesses and employees to recognise what is acceptable and “raise the bar”. The standards launched officially at this week’s Agency Leaders Symposium, with 20 companies already signing on.

That list of companies includes: Facebook, Fjord, Edelman, Havas, Hearts & Science, IAB, McCann, MFA, Omnicom Media’s PHD, OMD and Resolution, Ooh Media, Tonic Health Media and Verizon Media.

Manon Pietra, PHD’s people and culture director, said that PHD was pleased to support the standards, which are what she referred to as the “bare minimum”.

“With the increased attention on mental health, we noticed that many organisations felt overwhelmed and confused about exactly what they should or should not be doing and what their legal responsibilities were,” she said.

“The Minimum Standards were developed to make it easy for businesses to know where to start and for staff members to know what is acceptable and what isn’t. They are the bare minimum that we believe is reasonable for organisations to do to provide a safe and supportive workplace for the mental wellbeing of its people and are created with the realities of our industry in mind.”

The group has also launched a website, which acts as a home for mental health resources from expert organisations, articles and stories from industry leaders, and a section to read and sign on for the new minimum standards.

“This is the starting point, but what we hope to see is organisations going beyond just the minimum and creating a mentally healthy culture where creativity, and business can thrive,” said Andy Wright, co-chair of the Mentally Healthy Change Group and founder of Never Not Creative.

“The standards are a voluntary opt-in initiative that shows the organisation’s commitment for their staff in a public way. We are also looking at ways to measure compliance to ensure companies stay accountable to their promises in the future.”

Nina Nyman

Nina Nyman, also co-chair of the group and CMO at UnLtd added: “Since the findings of the Mentally Healthy study last year, the Mentally Healthy Change Group has been focused on finding practical solutions to tackle the mental health issues affecting our industry. The launch of the Minimum Standards and the Mentally Healthy website are great examples of a group of volunteers using their passion, skills and expertise to make a positive difference in our industry. We hope that the launch of these new initiatives will take a small step towards making the industry that we all love, more mentally healthy.”

If you need urgent help, please contact:
Lifeline 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
MensLine Australia 1300 789 978
Beyond Blue 1300 224 636


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