Social responsibility. Start today!
Social responsibility is the idea that businesses should balance profit-making activities with activities that benefit society; it involves developing businesses with a positive relationship to the society in which they operate. As Loop Brands’ MD through my own personal experience with mental health, I turned a negative into social responsibility.
Branding and marketing businesses are in an enviable position to help society. I believe every person or organisation, who is in a position to do so, have an obligation to leave the world in a better place than how they found it.
As the political landscape becomes more fragmented and community disillusioned we have an increasing moral obligation to improve the status quo. I hope my own story inspires you as an individual or the organisation you’re part of to push past the naysayers and help change the world, one small corner of it at a time.
Seven years ago my family were building a new home. Towards the end of the project, we knew our builder was in financial hardship. We worked with him to help. Unfortunately, he had not been paying superannuation for his employees and the ATO put him into administration when he couldn’t pay. To complete the project we pulled every trick we could; did as much of the building we could ourselves, hit the bank up for more money and applied for Home Owners Warranty Insurance which took a year to organise and receive. At any point, it could of all come crashing down. I was running on adrenaline.
Guess what, it worked! We managed the process and finished our home. What I didn’t expect was the impact it would have on my mental health!
For someone who had always been self-motivated and ambitious, I sunk to a dark place. I specifically remember two weekends I didn’t want to get out of bed. Who was this strange person who normally jumps out of bed and eats problems for breakfast, who wanted to stay in bed and dwell on negative thoughts? The change in my mental attitude was amazing. To make matters worse as a keen cyclist I had stopped riding as we spent weekends finishing our home. I realised how this compounded and further impacted on my mental health.
I was lucky, I recognised what was happening to me. I’m surrounded by great family and had friends for support. In simple terms, I had sucked the serotonin, the feel-good drug, out of my system and I was now paying the price. After a short course of serotonin replacement, I recovered. As part of that process, I started to ride again. That was over five years ago, but the whole journey gave me a new insight into how debilitating mental health and anxiety can be on individuals and their families.
Things happen for a reason. There’s a great saying I believe in.
You can get busy living or get busy dying. For me, you can dwell in the past or build a better future. On the back of my short experience suffering from depression, I realised there was not enough support for what is still considered a taboo subject by many. The gravity and social impact of mental health and anxiety come into clear focus when you realise it’s the leading cause of deaths in Australia between the ages of 15 and 44. That’s scary.
Having gone through the eye of the storm and after dancing with the ‘black dog’ I wanted to turn my personal experience into positive action. Cycling and cycling with friends helped me recover so I started a charity ride to help promote not just exercise but the benefits friendships have on people suffering from mental health and anxiety. We teamed up with Lifeline and created Go For Broke – ride to beat depression. The event, now in its second year is a 180km, one-day cycle event from Berowra in Sydney to Broke in the Hunter Valley. With just 17 riders in 2016, we now have 70 riders in 2017 with plans for 150 in 2018.
As Managing Director of Loop Brands, I feel privileged and fortunate enough to be in a position to bring the resources and expertise of Loop Brands to bear on such an important public health issue. I understand the benefit of effective branding. To enact it and then see it physically save lives is the most empowering thing I have ever done in my life. Through the activities and actions of Go for Broke, even if we have only saved one life – the job was done.
As individuals, businesses and corporations we all have an obligation to improve the world around us. It can be as simple as saying hello to someone you don’t know in the street. The important thing is to do something and start today. That’s what I did. What are you going to do?
If this story triggers any issues for you – Contact Lifeline for support.