Sydney adlanders attempt to raise over $150,000 for mental health

A group of Sydney-based media and advertising industry members has reminded adlanders about the pressures the sector can place on their mental health, and is seeking to raise over $150,000 for mental health charities.

Light Ball Committee members Neil O’Sullivan, Michael Magee, William Magee and Ronan McGowan with activist Danny Lim (centre)

With R U OK Day just passed and mental health month on the horizon, the group said there was no better time to decrease the stigma around mental ill health for those working in media and beyond.

Led by a committee including Momentum Media’s William Magee, Michael Magee and Ronan McGowan and CBS Interactive’s Neil O’Sullivan, the group will stage a charity ball in November with proceeds going to batyr and Pieta House.

The brothers said they are all too familiar with the devastating effects mental health can have on families, communities and individuals.

“Both Mick and I had well-regarded university degrees, yet couldn’t clear $50 a week,” William Magee said of working in Ireland in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis. “The financial lull was felt by everyone, but particularly a close friend, Colin Baker, who was also our housemate at the time, was really struggling.”

Michael then discovered Baker’s suicide, after having already dealt with his mother’s suicide six years earlier.

The Magees are now seeking to support those with mental health issues in Australia, particularly those working in high-stress environments – such as media – where “you’re always on”.

“Our aim is to break down the stigma of mental health. We knew we could do this and we had to encourage the community to talk about, and make people aware of the channels available to them if they were living with mental health and supporting said charities so they have continued access to support services,” William said.

The brothers, along with other committee members, are now staging the third iteration of the Light Ball in Australia in October, with the aim of breaking the $150,000 mark.

“We’ve been blown away by the continued success of the Light Ball and the success encountered in terms of numbers through the door, funds raised and celebrity support. It’s amazing to see the love and support we’ve also received from within the media industry. Our employers Momentum Media have really got behind us and have shown that it’s not uncommon for this industry to give back. People can work hectic hours in this industry and looking after both your health and mental health should be high on your priority list,” William said.

“This year we’ve upped the ante by relocating to the Australian Technology Park and are treating guests to a five-course degustation and after party entertainment. The event encompasses all walks of the community, not just Irish, but Aussies and the broader community alike. This is an issue for all communities.”

“The Light Ball is the most important calendar event of the year for Mike and I; we’re bringing awareness to mental health, through the power of 15 friends, while remembering our mum
and best mate at the same time.”

For more information on The Light Ball and to purchase tickets, click here.


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