In celebration of World Mental Health Day

Image credit: Glamour Magazine, Nabela Noor

Image credit: Glamour Magazine, Nabela Noor

In a world where we are accessible by anyone 24/7, a lot of suffering is a result of bullying in all forms; online trolling, stalking, abuse. I have been on the receiving end of bullying both online and more recently, in the workforce – twice in five years. The experiences left me battling stress, suffering from panic attacks, depression, anxiety, eating for comfort, lethargy, self-doubt and low self-esteem. Two years ago I was diagnosed with M.E (myalgic encephalomyelitis) which specialists put down as a result from all of these triggers.

To celebrate World Mental Health Day, I wanted to highlight a couple of best-case campaigns that reputable brands have been executing to spread the awareness of mental health and that no one should ever suffer in silence.

Glamour magazine’s #BlendOutBullying campaign stands up to online bullies to say that enough is enough.

The campaign sees Glamour encourage its audience to take a stand to those who judge others based on their style, talent and appearance through the use of makeup. The abusive words received by these brave individuals have been used to contour, on blend colour on your lip, or as concealer to cover up ink. It's all about taking back the power from the bullies and creating an inspiring video to encourage others to do the same.

Model Alliance is a not-for-profit organisation working to create policies that will help protect the rights of working models. It is led by founder Sara Ziff, with prominent casting director James Scully who together aim to protect the young women and men hurt, damaged and sometimes destroyed by the abuse Scully has helped to expose over the last two years.

Last autumn, Ziff and Scully partnered with publishing house Condé Nast to design a new code of conduct that would protect models from workplace abuses and sexual misconduct. Earlier in 2017, rivals Kering and LVMH joined forces by establishing a charter protecting model well-being, following Scully’s whistleblowing talk at VOICES, The Business of Fashion’s annual gathering for big thinkers, in December 2016.

You can read the full article with Scully, Ziff and supermodel-turned-activist Karen Elson about the progress the Model Alliance is making here.

Knowing how to react to hate is a complicated issue. New research from social media agency We Are Social found 89% of brands silence hateful comments by deleting or hiding them as they find it difficult to tread the line between encouraging debate and tackling hate speech.

And it is a problem that only seems to be getting worse given there has been a 42% increase in hateful content being removed from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube since 2016, according to EU Commission figures.

Not all brands are prepared to hide from the haters, though, and nor should they. Last month, Mars and McCain collaborated with UK tv broadcaster Channel 4 to launch #TogetherAgainstHate, an ad break takeover that featured three of the brands’ recent campaigns overlaid with real racist, homophobic, violent and discriminatory posts sent to the people involved.

Read more about their campaign here.

Social media is an amazing platform to showcase incredible positive social movements such as #MeToo but online bullying still exists. Easier said than done but remember those who hurl abuse are often unsatisfied with their own lives and want to tear others down.

To those who think a friend or colleague is putting on a brave face or suffering in silence, reach out, tell them you love them and always be kind.

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