Madano Voices - Let's talk about mental health

Today on October 9, a day before World Mental Health Day, Madano has joined more than 1,400 employers in England by signing the 'Time to Change' Employer Pledge to help end the stigma around mental health in the workplace. More than a fifth of communications professionals have been diagnosed with a mental health issue, according to a study by the CIPR, while 75% of respondents said that ours is a very stressful sector. Madano has long been committed to positively contributing to employees’ wellbeing, and physical and mental health, through a variety of initiatives, but we recognise that there is more that we can do. Madano’s pledge signing signifies our commitment to mental health and, through our Action Plan, we will be working to create more robust materials, training and support - based on input from our employees - to ensure we remain focused on what will be most helpful and impactful for our staff. Our team share some of their experiences and thoughts around mental health in an effort to help normalise the conversation.

Juliet Kitson, Senior Programme Executive - “The main theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day is suicide prevention. Research from RAND Corporation in 2017 interviewed families who’ve lost people to suicide, and startlingly found that in almost none of the cases did the usual warning signs provide a reliable signal that their loved one was spiraling towards suicide. With more companies fostering inclusive and compassionate environments through high-quality support programmes and increased awareness, I hope that people can feel empowered to seek help at the very beginning of their difficulties, thereby saving lives.”

Amisha Bhudia, Senior Programme Executive - “Having strong social support (whether it’s friends or a support group) is important to allow you to create happy experiences and combat feelings of isolation and helplessness – it will make you realise you are not alone. Being around a familiar and comfortable group is a mood lifter and prevents you from harbouring any negative thoughts you may be having - they do say laughter is the best medicine.

As much as it seems okay to bottle up and bury an issue, the sooner you can tell someone you can trust, the better it is for your overall wellbeing. Then you can work to

gether to tackle the issue. Having a fun, supportive and open work culture can do wonders for your mood/wellbeing.”

Joshua Ayodele, Account Executive - “Our default method for dealing with mental health commonly means remaining introverted and feeling uncomfortable sharing what we might be going through. This can aggravate the problem and result in further underlying issues. It’s important that workplaces provide a supportive environment that is ready to listen. This was one of the driving forces behind my taking part in the Three Peaks Challenge earlier this year, playing a small part in helping to support a charity like MIND, who are dedicated to improving the care people receive when facing a mental health problem. My clarion call would be to encourage companies, to underline the importance of looking after their employees mental wellbeing daily.”

Samantha Brannan, Senior Designer - “A friend of mine recently said to me: ‘You’re so lucky being able to work from home!’

Which I am. As a graphic designer, as long as I have Wi-Fi and a Mac, I am good.

Madano’s flexible approach to working has had a positive effect on my mental health as previously, when I was commuting into the office five days a week (a round trip of over three hours a day), my energy levels/positivity dropped dramatically and work/life balance seemed weighted in the wrong direction. Wednesdays are now a welcome respite, where I can casually stroll my two young children into school (instead of the mad dash for the train), get home, pop the radio and a wash on, make a coffee and then start my day. Minus the commute, I have more time (and often fewer distractions!) to offer to my work, and the bonus is I get to collect my children from school and spend a bit of quality time chatting about their day before getting back on with what’s on my to-do list”

Mark Fulker, Senior Account Manager - “My family suffered a sudden bereavement this year and Madano was extremely supportive of me throughout that difficult period. Aside from sending me home on the day it happened and giving me another day’s leave on bereavement grounds, our managing partner also phoned me the following Sunday to check how I was. Realising that I was still struggling with the situation, he told me not to come into the office the following week and said I should concentrate on just resting and being with my family.

When I did return to work, everyone I spoke to was sympathetic. My line manager and the senior management team made a point of offering me their condolences and asking me how my family and I were coping. I’ll always be grateful for the care and understanding I received from Madano during that time. It definitely helped me feel that I wasn’t going through things alone.”