The purpose of our third study was to evaluate what had changed since 2020 and to gain a deeper understanding into the state of our mental health in the media and creative industry. The survey included more than 1,300 employees across the media (57%) and creative (27%) industry. Of these, 32% were male, 67% female and 1% non-binary/other term.
A copy of the presentation from the launch event can be found here.
Watch the replay of the event below or read all about the findings here.
Our Industry’s Mental Health is Looking Healthier
Overall, when looking at the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS), our industry is looking a little healthier, with depression and anxiety levels improving slightly when compared with 2020. Overall:
· 46% display mild to severe levels on the anxiety scale
· 33% display moderate to severe levels on the anxiety scale
· 14% show severe symptoms of anxiety
· 46% display mild to severe levels on the depression scale
· 30% display moderate to severe levels on the depression scale
· 19% show severe symptoms of depression
Younger employees are more at risk, with participants under the age of 29 being 1.9times more likely to show signs of depression than respondents over 40.
Good Experiences at Work
We asked our participants to rate what good experiences they have experienced at work. The research found:
· 90% have been given the opportunity and resources to work flexibly
· 89% have received positive recognition for my work
· 71% have opportunities available to me to learn and progress in my career
· 61% have been supported if I experienced challenging times outside of work
· 52% have been able to pursue work-related interested outside of my regular job responsibilities
· 48% have been sponsored/championed by a senior colleague to help me succeed
Bad Experiences at Work
We ask our participants to rate their level of agreement with bad experiences at work. The research found:
· 45% have been interrupted or not listened to in meetings
· 30% felt undervalued compared to colleagues of equal competence
· 25% believe learning opportunities or progress has been restricted by managers
· 24% have repeatedly observed people taking solo credit for shared efforts
· 17% have been bullied or undermined in some way
Attitudes Toward Mental Health Are Improving
Overall, attitudes toward mental health are continuing to improve, seeing an improvement of 24% when compared to 2020.
· 49% disagree that people would be treated poorly if they were to disclose they had been diagnosed with a mental illness
· 36% disagree with not telling anyone if they had been diagnosed with depression
· 93% disagree with not wanting to work with someone who had been diagnosed with a mental illness
The research also found that 52% of employees under the age of 25 with poor mental health agree they would not tell anyone if they had a mental illness.
Where do we go to manage our mental health?
After family and friends, we are seeking help from our colleagues, indicating the importance of prioritising mentally healthy workplaces.
· 85% consult with friends/family members
· 47% consult with their GP
· 47% consult with their boss, colleague and/or peer
· 31% consult a psychiatrist and/or psychologist
· 19% consult an online service
What are the barriers to seeking support?
· If I ignore it, it will go away
· I can’t afford it
· I’m ashamed
What are employers doing about mental wellbeing?
We have seen improvements in how employees perceive their employers as taking wellbeing as a priority. 53% (+33% vs 2020) believe their mental health is a medium-high priority for their employers.
Interestingly, leaders rank their businesses mental health initiatives 51% more effective than employees. There is room to improve the effectiveness of mental health initiatives in our workplaces.
How can leaders improve mental wellbeing in their businesses?
1. Signal you care by signing the Mentally Healthy Minimum Standards here.
2. Prioritise people over profit through essential meaningful improvements. The research showed the following are most important to employees:
· 66% Empathetic, educated leaders
· 64% Leadership who lead by example
· 63% Flexible working conditions
· 63% Appropriate structure and resources
· 56% Clear objectives
3. Structure the workplace according to the Smart Work model developed by researchers from the Centre for Transformative Work Design at Curtin University
· Stimulating: skill variety, task variety, problem-solving
· Mastery: role clarity, feedback, task identity
· Agency: work scheduling, work methods, decision making
· Relational Support: social support, task significance, social worth
· Tolerable Demands: time pressure, emotional demands and role conflict
With regards to the Smart Work Model, the reality is there is room for our industry to improve.
· 33% believe their job has tolerable demands
· 40% believe their job provides mastery
· 47% believe they have relational support
· 58% believe their roles provide them with agency
· 58% believe their jobs are stimulating
What does a mentally-healthy person look like?
Employees who are mentally healthy are experiencing more frequent good experiences at work (as mentioned previously) and less frequent bad experiences at work (as mentioned previously).
In addition to this:
· 79% get good sleep
· 72% experience a strong sense of support
· 64% don’t work when sick
· 48% would tell someone if they had a mental health issue
· 22% don’t take work home with them
Overall, it is great to see that our industry is seeing improvements in their mental health and a reduction in the stigma. However, employers are important support networks for employees and we need to continue to prioritise effective mental wellbeing initiatives in our workplaces. We can achieve this by looking to improve tolerable demands, showcasing good examples of mentally healthy workplaces, setting the right tone for a mentally-healthy culture and continuing training and education as it is helping to reduce stigma and preparing leaders for empathetic conversations, especially with their younger employees.
If you or someone you care about needs support, please contact:
Lifeline 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78
Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
Thanks to our supporters:
UnLtd, Mentally Healthy, Meta, AGDA, Ashton Media, CommsCouncil, Design Business Council, Edelman, Hatched Media, IAB, MFA, McCann, oOh! Media, PHD, Pitch2Punch, PRIA, Publicis Groupe, The Design Conference, The Design Kids, ThinkTV, Streamtime and YoungBloods