This week marks Mental Health Awareness Week 2019. Launched by the Mental Health Foundation in 2001, the initiative aims to raise awareness of mental health issues and inspire action to promote good mental health nationwide. You’ve probably seen it trending on Twitter or shared on Facebook – which is good, because that means it’s working.
Mental Health Awareness Week is a great time for businesses to make a positive impact, and PR plays an important role in generating a big enough buzz to create maximum awareness. This year has seen the annual Green Ribbon Campaign gain more traction than ever, with reams of companies pledging their support to the #endthestigma movement online.
Unfortunately, as with any national awareness day, it also becomes subject to commodification. Big brands such as Burger King – who launched it’s ‘Unhappy Meals’ for the duration of May – have been criticised for trivialising mental health problems and exploiting the cause.
Theresa May and the UK Parliament have also faced backlash on Twitter in response to their images of government buildings lit up in green in support of the Green Ribbon Campaign – with many claiming that their work towards genuine change pales in comparison to their PR efforts, having slashed mental health budgets by millions since 2016.
So, is mental health being taken seriously enough? In our own industry, PRWeek UK has flagged concerns this week that it isn’t, with some PR professionals feeling they don’t have a source of support, and as many as 60% suffering with ill mental health at some point.
Here at The Right Agency, employee wellbeing is at the top of our priority list. We know the importance of communicating with one another, and make sure our office is a relaxed space where we can open up for a chat or a good old rant over a brew. And, while we know it won’t solve bigger problems, a team lunch for pizza and rosé every now and again definitely helps to de-stress and ensure everyone feels valued.