A mental health first aid course for ad and media industry leaders

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 10 September 2020

The Mentally Healthy Change Group has launched a mental health first aid training course designed for senior leaders and CEOs in the media, marketing and creative industry.

The Mentally Healthy 2020 study conducted by Everymind, Never Not Creative and UnLtd earlier this year highlighted the need for educated and empathetic leaders who lead by example, as a key driver for improving mental health in the workplace.

The virtual course across two days will equip leaders with the knowledge and practical skills to recognise signs of mental ill-health, help colleagues and friends experiencing mental ill-health and to actively reduce stigma around mental health in their workplace.

The launch coincides with R U OK Day September 10 and its 2020 theme of "there’s more to say after R U OK".

Nina Nyman, CMO at UnLtd and co-chair of the Mentally Healthy Change Group, says many avoid asking others how they are for the fear of the response and not being able to say or do the right thing.

She says the course will help give leaders the confidence to have those conversations.

"Just like the standard first aid courses, it gives you the skills and knowledge to potentially save someone’s life," she says.

The course will be delivered online by Chloe Hooper, head of growth and marketing, regional lead at PHD, and member of the Mentally Healthy Change Group who is a qualified mental health first aid trainer and has already trained more 130 people across the industry.

Chloe Hooper: “When we launched the first training courses last year, we were overwhelmed by the response – the courses filled up in a day! It’s fantastic that we can bring this course to our senior leaders this year to help create positive ripple effects across many organisations, especially at such a challenging time."

Participants already confirmed: Adrian Farouk, CEO of Digitas ANZ; Andrew Little, CEO of DDB Group; Chiquita King, Managing Director of Coffee Cocoa Gunpowder; Chris Freel, CEO of UnLtd; Laura Aldington, CEO of Host/Havas; Jack Byrne, Managing Director of Hatched Media; James Bayes, General Manager ANZ of The Trade Desk; Jim Gall, CEO of Clemenger BBDO Melbourne Group & CEO of Clemenger Group New Zealand; Louie Skinner, Managing Director of Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness; Margie Reid, CEO of Thinkerbell; Mark Jarrett, CEO of PHD; Melinda Geertz, CEO of Leo Burnett; Melissa Fein, CEO of Initiative; Paul Sigaloff, Managing Director ANZ of Verizon Media; Peter Butler, Managing Director of Spark Foundry; Skye Lambley, Group Managing Director of HerdMSL; Stephen McArdle, CEO of BMF and Simone Gupta, CEO of One Green Bean.

Jim Gall, CEO of Clemenger BBDO Melbourne Group and CEO of Clemenger Group New Zealand: “We lost a colleague last year in NZ to suicide and it was one of the most difficult, yet profound experiences I have ever been through as a leader.

"In these challenging times, mental health is not just a hygiene factor, it must be seen as an absolute business priority in balancing performance with empathy and cultural competency.”

The course requirements include 10 hours of online self-study, 2 x 2.5 hour Zoom training sessions and a final online exam.

It will run twice, October 29-30 and November 5-6.  There is an admin fee of $55 and those who pass their online exam will receive an official Mental Health First Aid certification.

Mark Jarrett, CEO of PHD: “Given the times we’re living in, being able to recognise signs of mental illness and to offer the right support is more important than ever. This is a great practical way for the leaders in our industry to come together to tackle mental illness in our industry. I’m looking forward to learning more about the topic and I hope to see many of my fellow leaders on the course.”

If you or someone you care about needs support, contact:
Lifeline 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78
Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636

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