5 MIN READ | General

How Big Brands are Helping the Plight of Mental Illness

Wendy Whitehead

Reading Time: 5 minutes


The state of mental health awareness in the UK continues to improve, with more charities, dedicated events, and big-name brands working to help the state of mental health in the country.

While in the US the approach of exclusion and neglect is drastically hindering those who have a mental illness, spreading awareness and quashing the stigma that can be associated with mental illness in the UK and across much of Europe is helping more people seek the treatment that can help them live a better life.

More and more people across the UK not only recognise, but are also knowledgeable about mental illnesses and can help others if the situation arises. This all comes from the continued, high-profile efforts to raise awareness, with Mental Health Awareness Week, taking place between 13th–19th May in 2019, becoming a firm fixture in the UK calendar.

Friends and family are now better equipped to help those in need of a helping hand while the volunteers at Samaritans are also available to listen to someone with mental health worries and help them without the person having a fear of being stigmatised or feeling the need to downplay their current state.

The statistics show that, as the nation has become more aware, the effectiveness of treatment programmes and the number of people seeking health has improved. For example, in 2016, it was found that depression prevention programmes were able to reduce the number of depression diagnoses and associated symptoms for up to 12 months following the implication of the programme.

Improvements can be seen since the turn of the millennium, with the number of people receiving mental health treatment for common problems rising from 23.1% in 2000 to 24.2% by 2007. And then increasing drastically alongside the increase in awareness initiatives into 2014 with 37.3% of those suffering from common mental health problems receiving treatment.

However, while the state of mental health in the UK is improving, it’s not perfect yet. There are problems that are being reviewed and assumedly trying to be fixed, such as the need to increase access and reduce waiting times. It was found recently that close to 27% of patients suffering from an eating disorder were waiting in excess of 10 weeks to receive an appointment.

Close to 16 million people experience a mental health problem every year, so while strategies, treatments, and procedures continue to try and grow and develop into offering the best help possible, the rest of society needs to be ready to help. Through awareness projects, more and more people in the UK are able to recognise and help those with suspected mental health illness, which reduces the stigma, allows people to get help more readily, and then go on to pursue professional help.

So, it’s important that specific mental health awareness projects continue and are highly publicised, but there are many other ways to help erase the stigma, raise awareness, and help those in need. One of the best ways to get the word out is through schemes set up by big brands.

Through awareness projects, more and more people in the UK are able to recognise and help those with suspected mental health illness.

People associate themselves and trust in brand names, so when the brands spread a message about mental health, its consumers and even those who just recognise the brand name will listen. Here are some of the brands endorsing self-help and the need to seek help if needed as well as those who directly endorse mental health charities.

Spreading the message of looking after yourself

Not only is it important for big brands to spread the message of being well and seeking help when needed but, if the industry of the brand has been known to offer its services to people who can suffer from problems, it’s crucial for them to offer help to their consumers themselves. This is the road that 888 have taken.

As a segment of their gaming audience may suffer from a mental health problem, the online gambling brand has released many tools to help its customers be aware of what not to do when gambling. Their Commandments of Gambling detail rules for those looking to play online casino games, such as not drinking too much, not using all of their money, controlling the game plan as well as other rules to ensure that other members of their community aren’t harmed by the actions of a few, such as by telling people to respect dealers, not give playing advice, and not moaning about losses.

The ‘Commandments of Gambling’ detail rules for those looking to play online casino games.

These rules combine to help reduce the chances of the person reading the article developing a mental illness and help to stop them from triggering anyone else. Innocent is another very well-known brand and is known for their promotion of looking after yourself and looking after the planet. They care about the business’ impact on the environment and on society.

The whole ethos of their products is to help people to be healthy by having drinks that promote a healthy mind and a healthy body. But they go even further to help those with mental illnesses. Innocent pays special attention to the mental health of its staff, offering flexible working hours, free breakfast, free gym memberships, encouraging exercise, and promoting mindfulness and good mental health through its yoga club. They see mental health and physical health as being very important and intertwined, and so they offer the tools for their staff to achieve a complete state of well-being.

Philanthropy still plays a major role in awareness

The reason why brands become known as big brands is that their product sells and then they reinvest their earnings in enhancing the brand and advertising to spread brand awareness. In amongst all of the self-promotion and advancement, some big brands set aside some time and money to help good causes and support groups of people who undoubtedly make up a portion of their customer base.

Mental health is an incredibly worthy cause given how many people it affects and the need to find treatments for mental illnesses. Many big brands recognise this and make mental health organisations the focus of their philanthropy. Another gaming business, Jagex – developers of RuneScape – announced in 2018 that their work with Rare raised £225,000 for The Prince’s Trust, YMCA Right Here, and CPSL Mind through their Charitable Giving Initiative that encouraged opportunities for charitable giving and mental health awareness.

Mental health is an incredibly worthy cause given how many people it affects and the need to find treatments for mental illnesses.

Big brands across many industries also contribute to raising both money and awareness for mental health organisations, including the perfume line Hope Fragrances, which donates all of its net profit to discovering new treatments for depression; accounting firm Ernst & Young who support and promote Mental Health Awareness Week; and Lynx, the deodorant brand, ran a campaign of advertisements which raised awareness of male suicide.

All mental health awareness projects are important to encourage more people to seek help and to educating the greater public for what they should do to help those who they think may be suffering from such an illness. Charities can only go so far as, for the most part, people in the general public probably won’t seek mental health information in their spare time, which is why it’s important for the big brands with huge reach make a point of spreading awareness and helping the cause however they see fit.

Wendy Whitehead worked as a teaching assistant at two special needs schools in London before embarking on a different career as a marketing consultant. 

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