It’s Time to Talk
Last Thursday IPG Mediabrands took part in Time to Talk Day. Run by the organisation Time to Change, it is a nationwide project designed to encourage people to have a conversation about mental health.
Mental health problems affect one in four of us, yet people are still afraid to talk about it. At present, it seems that we are experiencing a real awakening within society; attitudes are changing and as people begin to truly understand what mental illness is, we are challenging stigmas and starting to speak openly about our own experiences.
On the day, tip sheets, tea and biscuits were scattered around the office in the breakout spaces to encourage people to take the time to have a break and speak to colleagues. We also had a counsellor on site throughout the day, available through Health Assured, our Employee Assistance Programme. Talking face to face with a fully qualified counsellor can provide emotional support and guidance.
The day was all about people opening up, and sometimes it takes an individual seeing others doing so before they feel comfortable themselves. Alex Norman, Head of Ad Operations EMEA very kindly volunteered to share his personal experience with mental health. Alex spoke about his experience with depression during University that brought about multiple symptoms, resulting in a period where Alex felt physical and emotional stress.
He shared the effect it’s had on his life, how he reacted, and the ways in which he was treated to help cope with his symptoms. This is what Time to Talk Day is all about and Alex’s candid and open discussion was truly inspiring.
Knowing the difference between depression, anxiety and having a bad day and knowing what we can do about it, is important to our wellbeing and overall mental health. This session described the common experiences of mental health difficulties. It also provided explanations of how symptoms are maintained and outlined some strategies that can help, including behavioural techniques to improve mood and ways of managing unhelpful thoughts.
Both talks were so important in different ways. Through sharing stories and helping others to talk about mental health, we can continue to build an Open culture.
It is also important to note the benefits available to you that help support both your mental health and overall wellbeing:
Employee Assistance Programme
The Employee Assistance Programme through Health Assured is a free and confidential advisory service providing you (and any immediate family members living you with) with access to a wide range of services to support you with any problems you may be experiencing, including a stress helpline, structured telephone counselling and face-to-face counselling.
You can call the EAP helpline on 0800 030 5182 or login to Health Assured (username and password both Mediabrands) to access these services.
Health Cash Plan
If you are a member of the Health Cash Plan through Health Shield you can claim cash back towards the cost of everyday healthcare treatments, including counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and much more. Log in to the A2B benefits portal to find more information about your Core Benefit healthcare entitlement, or email AskHRUK@mbww.com if you have any questions.
NABS is a charitable organisation that provides support and free events for those working in the advertising and media industry. Keep an eye on their calendar for upcoming workshops which include Mindfulness Masterclasses and One-to-One Stress Coaching.
NABS also have an Advice Line where you can discuss a range of workplace and personal issues – just give them a call on 0800 707 6607 between 9am – 5.30pm or email firstname.lastname@example.org for tailored advice and guidance.