Mental Fitness in the creative sector – A challenge to get more creative

Consulting, Mental Fitness

How can we all get more creative about supporting Mental Fitness?

Supporting employee wellbeing is a growing priority in every sector. But supporting Mental Fitness in the creative sector is a particularly high priority. Here at Cognomie we think that is a profoundly exciting opportunity to create wellbeing solutions that can inspire the world. 

There are big challenges for Mental Fitness in the creative sector

A number of recent surveys highlight why this is the case. The figures make stark reading. 

A study by MIND and `NABS found that: 64% of people have considered leaving the industry because their wellbeing was being affected by their work and 60% said their work had a negative impact on their wellbeing. 

Another 2021 study commissioned for the Alliance for Independent Agencies found 96% of marcomms professionals had experienced poor mental health, 52% had experienced burnout and 42% didn’t speak to anyone at work about it. 

It can be a demanding, long hours, high stress culture

Writing in Harvard Business Review in 2019, Sarah Niblock pondered why the creative industry is harming its employees. She points to the imbalance between a market that has historically been “employer led” – people want to work there and demand for jobs exceeds supply and a pattern of leadership where those at the top are highly accomplished creatively but lack training in wider leadership capabilities. 

Examples of innovation and good practice are emerging. 

Writing in Campaign, Suki Thompson singles out figures like Josh Krichefski at Mediacom, Annette King at Publicis and Daniel Gilbert at Brainlabs for leading the way in putting wellbeing at the heart of their organisations. We love how a creatively led sector is coming up with uniquely creative solutions to wellbeing that are becoming celebrated throughout the sector. 

Wellbeing needs to be at the heart of organisational culture.

The challenge for us is simple. And it is big. 

The creative sector is one of the most vibrant, exciting, energising and influential industries on the planet. It makes amazing stuff that transforms and changes lives. People want to be part of it for a reason. Mental Fitness can be a driving force at the heart of the sector and at the heart of organisational culture. 

How can the creative sector, lead the way creatively in making wellbeing the future of work?

How can the creative sector apply its own energy, creativity and joyfulness to transforming and change itself in a way that inspires other sectors themselves to transform and change? How can it be a beacon for Mental Fitness and employee wellbeing around the globe?

We’ve got some ideas where the answers might lie. 

Being purpose driven

We think it has to do with putting purpose at the heart of what it means to work in the creative sector. Creative people instinctively understand and are driven by purpose. Purpose can be at the heart of our resilience, our reason to get up in the morning, be dedicated to what we do. So finding ways to create alignment between organisational purpose and team and individual purpose may be part of the creative solution to wellbeing challenges. 

Re-modelling leadership

Here at Cognomie we are constantly, literally on a daily basis, inspired by the power of transformational coaching to change lives and create empowered, empathetic, purposeful leaders. It is itself a creative process of self understanding and self development. And it redefines the model of leadership. Rather than creating “leaders”, transformational coaching delivered at scale can create “leadership organisations”. 

Pioneering flexible futures

Work is changing. The creative sector has historically been in the vanguard of pioneering new models of working. We all have experience in our own careers of entering into the creative cultures of agencies and seeing sofas and brainstorming spaces and the way in which a more relaxed workplace culture can drive performance. Leading the way in creative truly innovative solutions to hybrid working, that address the challenges that go with developing careers in hybrid spaces is an integral part of helping individuals thrive. This is about changing ways of working, not just where we work. 


The answers to wellbeing challenges are rarely ‘top down’ answers. Co-creating solutions and making sure that they recognise and support diversity and difference and can be flexibly delivered around the needs of diverse humans living amazing, creative lives will be part of inspiring other sectors how wellbeing can be at the heart of work. 

Making big, bold, joyful changes

As Sarah Niblock puts it, “Free yoga classes won’t fix mental wellbeing in the creative industries”. This requires big, bold cultural changes. Applying the same loud and proud stance to creating and sharing amazing, life transforming work to creating amazing, life transforming organisations and cultures. 

So there’s a few ideas for strengthening Mental Fitness in the creative sector. But they feel like the first post it notes on a brainstorming wall that ends up being something much, much richer. 


Want to take this further?

Are you trying to develop creative solutions to wellbeing and strengthening Mental Fitness in your organisation? If you’d like help to take this further, we’d love to talk and we’d love to hear your ideas about building better relationships as an individual and an organisation. 

by | 25 Apr 2022

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