The Hallway’s Simon Lee: ‘Nobody has an issue calling their manager to say they have the flu’

Content warning: This article and the videos in this article discuss mental health issues. If you or someone you care about needs support, please contact Lifeline 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636. In an emergency, call 000.

Following the ‘Boys Do Cry’ campaign from independent creative agency, The Hallway, the man behind the campaign, Simon Lee told Mumbrella that dealing with mental health struggles requires normalising the dialogue around it.

“I think the best thing that we can do is kind of what we’re doing here right now,” he said speaking on this week’s Mumbrellacast.

“The reality is it’s not just me, it’s not just you. It’s a lot of people at a lot of times in their life, and I think it’s just about being totally honest and open about it. Unburdening ourselves of all of our individual sort of dirty little mental health secret.”

Simon Lee

The campaign was three years in the making, and was born out of his Lee’s own struggles with mental health, and experiencing the release that speaking out about it can give you, something which many men find difficult.

“None of us have any issue calling up our manager to say that we’re not going to come to work today because we’ve got a cold or we’ve got the flu or some kind of physical ailment. I think there is still a taboo and a discomfort about calling up and sort of going, I’m really struggling mentally today.”

Normalising the conversation within the industry, and in agency workplaces, where creatives particularly “are prone to these issues”, Lee said is a vital step that needs to be made.

“Sometimes we do just want to have a laugh, but it’s knowing when you need it, you can go beyond that.”

Over the rest of the interview, Lee talks about the creation of the campaign, the emotional toll that comes with producing creative work and the struggles men have in speaking about their mental health in the advertising industry.

Listen to the full conversation with Simon Lee on the Mumbrellacast, wherever you find your podcasts.


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