Championing Mental Health: How Medialab Group Leads by Example

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This Mental Health Awareness Week, I am proud to share that Medialab have attained the IPA People First Promise badge of honour. This is a new accolade from the IPA recognising  companies that are actively investing in, and engaging with, the mental health and wellbeing of their people. At Medialab we’ve always focused heavily on our teams’ mental health and wellbeing and our strategies align with the IPA’s Empower, Prevent, and Support framework, ensuring mental wellbeing is prioritised. I thought it would be helpful to share some examples of what we’re doing in each of these areas at Medialab. 

 

EMPOWER 

Communities: 

Our ‘Communities’ are internal working groups set up as a support network for minority groups to be able to share experiences, acknowledge biases, generate ideas on how we can be as inclusive as possible, and create meaningful action and change. Current Communities include Roots @ Medialab (a Community for Medialabbers from an ethnically diverse background and allies), Women @ Medialab and Sustainability @ Medialab.  

 

Together We Stand: 

Together We Stand sessions are regular forums that are open for everyone at Medialab to attend and host. Designed to open minds, remove stigma, educate and encourage open conversations, all in a safe space, TWS sessions cover a variety of topics including racism, mental health, gender inequality, LGBTQ+ issues and neurodiversity the workplace. I have spoken openly at these sessions in the past about my own neurodiversity (or, as I prefer to call it, my ‘superpower’ dyslexia) and I believe this openness from the top is really important in building a supportive culture. 

 

Mentoring: 

We encourage employees to take part in mentoring (and make this mandatory for entry level recruits), either through our own internal mentoring programme, which more than a third of the company takes part in, or via external schemes through the likes of Bloom; MEFA, NABS and Outvertising.   

  

PREVENT 

Monitoring surveys and measuring results: 

We run wellbeing surveys each year and the headline measure is the same question we ask ‘Overall, how are you generally feeling?’  as well as other more detailed questions. We share results and actions we plan to take with the company in an all company meeting. We also ask specific questions around mental health and wellbeing in exit interviews. We are also signed up to Mind’s Mental Health at Work Commitment – Mind is one of our clients and we regularly share their brilliant mental health resources in the agency. 

 

Culture of openness and transparency: 

We also regularly update our staff bulletin boards with posters and leaflets which communicate information on Mental health support such as our Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) details and events we are running, for example, a Time to Talk day event we hosted.  

As a Board we support a whole range of mental health and wellbeing initiatives including: 

  • Day off for World Mental Health Awareness Day 
  • Dogs allowed in the office every Friday 
  • A range of third party EAP’s which offer 24/7 Health & Stress helplines, Mental Health Support, Bereavement Counselling, Financial & Legal guidance & support, plus free professional counselling sessions  

 

SUPPORT 

Mental Health First Aiders: 

Since 2020, we have invested heavily in Mental Health First Aid training, including training one in ten of the company as fully qualified mental health First Aiders, trained by MHFA England. At the start of the pandemic, I suffered from long Covid and my own mental health suffered so I feel an incredibly personal connection to championing mental wellbeing for the whole company. 

Mandatory mental health awareness training for line managers: 

Building on the great feedback we had from the team on our MHFA commitments, since 2021, we have made it compulsory for all line managers to take part in mental health awareness training from MHFA England. These training sessions focus on the most common issues experienced, such as stress, anxiety and depression. This training equips line managers with the confidence and skills to become more aware of key issues and risks around mental health and know how to support their team members if a situation should arise.   

We also encourage our teams to take part in NABS Resilience training and our bespoke Line Manager training course, with provider YCN (You Can Now) includes a module on Inclusive Management. 

One of our fantastic clients, Mind, also has a wealth of brilliant resources available to support with mental health and well-being, which can be explored here: Information and support – Mind 

I am so proud that Medialab remains committed to a workplace where people’s mental health is really supported. One of our company values is “We commit to doing the right thing” and creating an open and supportive culture is really important to me.  

This Mental Health Awareness Week, let’s remember the importance of taking care of ourselves and each other, and creating workplaces where everyone can thrive. 

 

 

 

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