Mental Health in Marketing

Mental Health in Marketing

Today is the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, organised by the Mental Health Foundation each year to help promote awareness and understanding of mental health issues. While marketing may not be as high-stress as some careers, such as health or social care, recent research from NABS, the employee support organisation for the advertising and media industry, and the charity Mind has shown that poor workplace wellbeing is still a significant problem for the industry.

According to the survey of 576 employees in the UK advertising and media industry, 36% said their mental health has been either ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ over the past 12 months and 26% reported having a long term mental health condition. In a sector that is becoming increasingly reliant on email, social media and new technology, finding time to slow down and have a break from work can be very difficult.

This doesn’t just impact on the mental and physical health of those individuals, but also has a much wider effect on the industry as a whole. By far the most valuable assets in a company’s marketing department are its staff and their creativity and expertise. In a sector that already has a high turnover of staff (30% compared to the national average of 10%), can we really afford to lose more employees due to poor wellbeing?

The NABS research has shown that 64% of respondents have considered leaving the industry at some point due to work negatively impacting their wellbeing and 60% said their job has had a negative impact on their mental health in the last year. Despite this, less than half (46%) felt comfortable talking to their line manager about mental health issues.

NABS CEO, Diana Tickell said:

Open QuotesIt’s been encouraging to see many of our industry’s leaders responding to concerns around industry wellbeing. But this research gives us the clearest indication yet that we’re still simply not doing enough to care for the mental health of our teams, and much more remains to be done.

We’ve seen this reflected on NABS’ Advice Line; where almost a third of all the calls we receive (30%) are from those seeking emotional support. It’s vital, not only for employee wellbeing, but the success of our industry, that we train our managers and leaders to better identify and support the mental health of their teams. 33% of respondents felt their senior leadership team doesn’t encourage workplace wellbeing within their organisation. We must work together to put this on the very top of everyone’s agenda.Close Quotes


In response to the issues raised in the survey, NABS recently launched their SHEPARD Model for Wellbeing, which helps employers to identify the areas that are key to the wellbeing of their employees and to recognise where there staff may need support.

The seven aspects to good wellbeing are:

  • Satisfaction – people feeling content and assessing their lives as being filled with opportunity, potential, meaning and purpose.
  • Health – people believing themselves to be, and being in a state of wellness; in mind, body and spirit.
  • Emotions – people being able to regulate their emotions and feelings in a constructive and meaningful way.
  • Perceptions – people having positive perceptions of themselves and their environment.
  • Awareness – people being aware of, and making positive connections between their thoughts, experiences, responsibilities and impact of their relationships.
  • Rewards – people feeling financially secure and empowered, and having a sense of status and purpose.
  • Diversity – people having varied, positive relationships, creating a sense of learning, belonging, community, social acceptance and trust.

We spend the majority of our lives at work and it needs to be a place where talking about the issues of mental health and wellbeing is normal and accepted. Marketing leaders need to encourage their employees to come to them with problems without the fear of stigma or adverse consequences and find ways to support their staff, or risk losing them.

Employees and employers can also find information and practical steps to promote wellbeing, tackle stress and poor mental health at work by visiting Mind.

In your experience, what’s the best way to engage and support marketing employees?

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