One of core values at B2 is to keep it real with one another and with our clients. We often develop campaigns and communications on behalf of our clients that bring to life the crux of an issue and address it head on – helping to keep it real with the stakeholders we are trying to engage.

To live this work value everyday and do meaningful work for our clients, we must be ongoing students of our environment – hyper-aware of where society is falling short in being genuine and honest about the reality of an issue and also tapping into those influential movements that are helping to generate change – such as #metoo (still), #dresslikeawoman and #defendscience.

Recently, a societal situation that we’ve seen coming to a head is the need to destigmatize mental health in the workplace and address workplace burnout – both connected and impacting millions of lives.[1]

Although these themes have yet to hit their tipping points of acceptance, this month we’ve come across a few articles that are shedding light on these realities, stirring some controversy around the topic of burnout and highlighting what a few leaders are doing to pioneer change in the world of advertising and mental health.

  • A few weeks ago, the World Health Organization elevated burnout from a “state of exhaustion” to a legitimate medical diagnosis.[2]
  • Following shortly after, an opinion piece in the New York Times, written by Dr. Richard Friedman, director of the psychopharmacology clinic at Weill Cornell Medical College, questions whether burnout is real or if it is a shift in cultural attitudes about work.
  • What role are advertising agencies playing to help employees keep it real when it comes to mental health? Not as much as they could, according to a recent Ad Age article. “David & Goliath recently introduced an additional day of paid time off earmarked for mental health,” Ad Age’s I-Hsien Sherwood writes. “But most companies lack codified policies or support systems, and progress is coming only slowly.” Read Sherwood’s full article, which includes the story of a digital agency founder whose own struggles led him to fight for the cause.

As communicators who thrive on keeping it real, we must embrace the influence we can have on keeping an open dialogue about mental health and burnout, so that it is no longer silenced in our field and society at large. Keeping the momentum going towards acceptance just may be what is needed to spark a movement.

For more information on what you can do to keep it real and support mental health in the workplace, visit National Alliance on Mental Illness.

And to catch a quick glimpse of B2’s keep it real approach work, check out two of our campaigns:

Demi Lovato, Sunovion and Leading Advocacy Organizations Launch the Be Vocal Collection in Partnership with Getty Images to Encourage the Realistic Portrayal of Mental Health

Merz Encourage Women to Smash Through Labels and Judgement with Disruptive New DTC Campaign for Xeomin® (IncobotulinumtoxinA)

[1] //www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-By-the-Numbers

[2] //icd.who.int/browse11/l-m/en#///id.who.int/icd/entity/129180281