Never Not Creative and Mentally-Healthy launch global study into industry empathy

9 months ago by

Our friends at Never Not Creative and Mentally-Healthy are inviting the entire industry to partake in the first ever study into empathy within creative, media and marketing businesses – take the ‘Different Shoes: The empathy project’ survey to help them out.

‘Different Shoes: The empathy project’ survey is a global, industry-wide survey that aims to uncover the current state of empathetic culture and leadership. The research objective is to better understand our industry’s comprehension of empathy, uncover the benefits of empathetic workplaces and share best practices to empower leaders to cultivate more mentally healthy workplace cultures.

The empathy project is the first global survey from the Mentally Healthy and Never Not Creative partnership. The research was opened up following increased international interest in the 2018 and 2020 findings. A team of passionate industry advocates from locations including New York, Auckland, Sydney, Brisbane and beyond have collaborated to develop the study.

The research project is an evolution to the Mentally Healthy 2020 study which found a majority of respondents believe more empathetic and educated leaders are needed to promote the importance of mental wellbeing at work.

Whilst the 2020 study revealed signs of improvement around stigma, a deeper dive revealed the ‘absolutely essential’ factors that would make the biggest improvement in the workplaces was empathetic leadership (68%), leadership leading by example (65%) and appropriate structure and resources (55%).

The empathy audit covers three areas of empathy including perception, personal experience and quantification. Over 36 questions, it delves into the working dynamics of agency and client relationships, deliverables and work, and agency culture (internal relationships).

Individuals and companies from across the globe are encouraged to fill in the anonymous free survey here. It will be open through to November with findings published later this year.

Andy Wright, Creator of Never Not Creative & Co-Chair of Mentally-Healthy, commented: “This project was a no-brainer as soon as we analysed the findings of the 2020 research. So much of workplace mental wellbeing seems to be tackled through wellbeing initiatives and mental health training programs, which are good, but the industry told us that it was crying out for more empathetic leadership.

“This survey isn’t about naming and shaming who’s doing it wrong, it’s about us better understanding the issue at hand to find areas for improvement. The support we’ve received for this project on an international scale goes to show that these topics are resonating with adlanders around the world. Together we can improve standards and workplace cultures, and make a real impact.”

The 2020 Mentally Healthy study was the second wave of research published by Mentally-Healthy and Never Not Creative after the duo exposed significantly high levels of depression and anxiety in the industry in 2018. Twenty percent of respondents showed severe symptoms of depression and 24 percent showed severe symptoms of anxiety.

Mentally-Healthy and Never Not Creative have launched a number of initiatives to improve our industry’s mental wellbeing since their first collaboration. These include the Return to Workplace Guide for Adland, mental health first aid training courses for leaders, individuals and organisations, and the Minimum Standards of which has been signed by over 110 companies.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with mental health and needs support, please contact:

NZ helplines:


Australian helplines:

  • Lifeline 13 11 14
  • Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
  • MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78
  • Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636



About Never Not Creative

Never Not Creative is a community tackling challenges that our industry faces concerning mental health, internships and diversity, equity and inclusion. You can find out more about Never Not Creative initiatives here.

About Mentally-Healthy Change Group

The Mentally-Healthy Change Group was formed by Andy Wright and Nina Nyman in 2018 following wide-scale response to the Mentally-Healthy 2018 research that quantified the scale of mental ill-health in our industry. Since then the group have gone on to run a second wave of research, publish e-books sharing leaders’ stories and establish the Minimum Standards for mental health.

About Different Shoes: The empathy project

The empathy project is the next logical step to tackling a finding from the Mentally-Healthy 2020 research. The industry asked for more empathetic leaders in order to improve workplace mental wellbeing. It’s a collaboration between Mentally-Healthy and Never Not Creative and passionate mental health advocates in the industry across Australia, New Zealand, US and the UK. More promotional assets here.


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