Poet Hussain Manawer will become the first British Muslim to go to space after winning a competition. Having dedicated his trip to mental health sufferers all over the world, he tells The Drum magazine in our latest edition what he thinks marketers can do to redress the narrative.
"Experiences such as depression and anxiety can affect us all in different ways and to varying degrees. When you’re dealing with such subjective occurrences, art such as poetry, painting and music can offer the opportunity to share those crippling emotions in a form devoid of any stigma," he said.
"Self-expression is a tool to start the conversation, but as marketers and creative thinkers, together we can help shift the mental health narrative in order to dispel the bad reputation it has so unfairly garnered."
This has already started to happen through initiatives such as The Drum’s Do It Day, where using the tools the industry has at its disposal, we can utilize platforms such as social media, campaign calendars and traditional forms of media to combat the stigma around mental health.
"We can shine a light on the diverse triggers that may lead to mental issues as well as the societal issues that also play a role," Manawer added.
"Taking the time out to address our current state of mind should be something we not only encourage as a society, but as employers and creative thinkers. Re-inventing the way we approach the topic of consumer mental health has welcomed the notion of ‘mindfulness’."
Manawer highlighted that this has already begun, citing examples such as the reinvention of the colouring book for an adult audience, as well as new mental health therapies, in the form of apps such as Headspace which provides guided meditation at our fingertips.
"Ways of ensuring we become more aware of how we are feeling, hopefully preventing impactful negative thoughts from taking root, has never been more accessible. With the collective efforts of the creative world, together we can change the discourse on mental health and chip away at the stigma surrounding it,” Manawer concluded.
The Drum’s Do It Day, which takes place on 10 October, will focus on destigmatizing mental health. Find out more and register here.
The full interview is published in the June issue of The Drum magazine.