Publicis gives its 1,800 employees a day off for World Mental Health Day

By Paige Murphy | 9 October 2019

Publicis Groupe Australia and New Zealand will close its doors for the day on October 10, in support of World Mental Health Day.

The 1,800 employees of the marketing, communication and digital transformation group will be given the day off as part of a broader mental health program in Australia and New Zealand.

“Publicis Groupe is absolutely committed to ensuring our people can thrive in a mentally healthy workplace," says Michael Rebelo, CEO, Publicis Groupe ANZ.

The program is being driven by Publicis Groupe ANZ’s Next Generation Board.

One of the board’s aims is to create a positive community impact by identifying and addressing social initiatives that intersect with the business.

The program also includes quarterly happiness health check surveys used to develop wellness initiatives, mental health first aid training, an employee assistance program, and a broader series of events leading up to 10 October, including yoga, meditation and boxing classes for staff; as well as ongoing initiatives throughout the year.

The mental health program covers Publicis Groupe’s businesses including Arc, Digitas, Digitas Affinity ID, Herd MSL, Leo Burnett, Marcel, MBM, MercerBell, Performics, Prodigious, Publicis Sapient, Publicis Sport & Entertainment, Saatchi & Saatchi, Spark Foundry, Starcom and Zenith.

Employees with critical commitments on World Mental Health Day will be able to opt out and instead enjoy another day off this year.

“The happiness and health of our people is paramount to Publicis Groupe, and we wanted to give our people the day to reflect and focus on their own mental health," says Pauly Grant, chief talent officer, Publicis Groupe ANZ.

Publicis Groupe Next Generation Board member Bianca Wallis says the mental health program was inspired by research from the social purpose organisation UnLtd and Publicis Groupe ANZ’s own staff surveys.

“For the Next Generation Board’s first initiative, we felt it was critical to focus on something that could have an immediate, direct impact on our talent," Wallis says.

"We knew we could do that by focusing on mental wellness and happiness."

Last year, the Mentally Healthy study found that people people within the media, marketing and creative industry show greater signs of mental illness compared to the national average.

Since then, the Mentally Healthy Change Group has introduced the first Minimum Standards for Mental Health for the industry as a benchmark to help businesses and employees understand what is acceptable and to raise the collective bar.

World Mental Health Day is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma.

It was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organisation with members and contacts in more than 150 countries.

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