Industry launches new minimum standards for mental health

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 5 September 2019

The Mentally Healthy Change Group, a collective of leaders in the creative, media and marketing industry, have introduced the first ever Minimum Standards for Mental Health for our industry.

The minimum standards have been developed as a benchmark for businesses in the creative, media and marketing industries and are designed to help businesses and employees understand what is acceptable and to raise the collective bar.

The standards are based on legislation, academic research and health professional advice around areas such as privacy and discrimination, working hours and environment, disconnection and support.

“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," PHD Australia people and culture director Manon Pietra says.

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," Pietra continues.

The Minimum Standards were officially launched at the Agency Leaders Symposium this week and 20 organisations have already signed up their support, including Facebook, Fjord, Edelman, Havas, Hearts & Science, IAB, McCann, MFA, Omnicom Media’s PHD, OMD and Resolution, Ooh! Media, Tonic Health Media and Verizon Media.

The Minimum Standards can be viewed and signed at www.mentally-healthy.org. The site also offers advice on how to go beyond the minimum standards and to become Mentally Healthy champions.

“The Minimum Standards are exactly as the name suggests – the bare minimum. 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," Founder of Never Not Creative Andy Wright says. 

"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.”

The group has also today launched a new website, www.mentally-healthy.org, to make it easier to find relevant information about mental health, specifically curated for our industry.

The site includes carefully selected resources from expert mental health organisations such as Black Dog Institute, R U OK and Beyond Blue with curated collections for individuals looking for help, companies looking to create a more mentally healthy culture, or individuals looking to support their peers or staff members.

The site also includes mental health articles and stories by leaders in our industry and a section to read and sign the newly launched Minimum Standards.

“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," UnLtd CMO Nina Nyman says.

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.”

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