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We need to talk about mental health in the Creative Sector.

Fellow Agency owners take note. Our sector has a very big issue. People who work in the creative industry are three times more likely to experience issues with mental health and well-being than the general population. Shocked? You should be.

It gets worse. Last year, Ulster University released a report which stated that of the 574 people they interviewed 36% had been diagnosed with anxiety, 32% with depression and 60% had, at some point, considered suicidal thoughts.

Why is this?

In a quote on the BBC’s website Peter McBride of charity Inspire, who commissioned the research, said people who are creative are likely to be “more in touch with their feelings. That can mean they sometimes experience things differently or more deeply than other people, that’s part of their craft”.

Whilst that’s a broader view, there’s no denying that agency life can be stressful. Constant deadlines, the pressure of pitching and, let’s be honest, an unhealthy culture of long hours. Agencies talk a lot about workplace culture; a vinyl of your core values next to a bike hanging on a wooden wall, or ‘Friday Beers’ isn’t going to cut it. We need to start giving a shit about our people and their mental well-being.

I’m looking across the office now, I’m seeing lots of smiles, I think I heard someone in Client Services say something witty, that’s a rare thing, believe me! I can’t help but wonder if everyone is OK. Think I might just ask. I urge you to do the same.

Parting shot:  As part of #MentalHeathAwarenessWeek there’s loads of help available, particularly from the Mental Health Foundation website – www.mentalhealth.org.uk

Sources: BIMA – https://www.bima.co.uk/en/Article/2018/09-Sep-2018/There-is-a-mental-health-crisis-in-the-creative-industry-it-needs-to-befixed, BBC -https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-foyle-west-43514255 with credit to the Ulster University (UU).

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