A HOST of Dorset business people will open up about their mental health in a campaign which could go national.

The #Day2Day campaign is aimed at removing stigma around mental health difficulties and encouraging people to talk freely about them.

Dan Willis, managing director of Bournemouth business Why Digital, organised the local campaign, which will be launched on March 1 with Dorset Mind and Bournemouth University, with videos released every two days throughout the month.

Among those telling their stories will be Dorset’s police and crime commissioner Martyn Underhill, photographer Sophie Cook and representatives from local employers including Stable, Pause Cat Café, Bournemouth University, Dorset Healthcare and AFC Bournemouth.

Dan Willis said: “We want #Day2Day to create something that pulls people’s attention, and help employers understand the true impact that mental well-being can have to their organisation. Mind’s latest research shows that work is the biggest cause of stress in people’s lives, more so than debt or financial problems. Not only that, stress can stop people performing at their best, or even at all.”

He added: “As someone who has bipolar, I’ve been very fortunate that the more open I’ve been, the more embracive people have been around me. People haven’t resistant or shown any form of prejudice or stigma towards it. Nine times out of 10 they say ‘I wouldn’t have thought you had mental health’. It’s part of my day and I’ve learned to live with it. It’s normal.”

#Day2Day was born out of a workshop held in Bournemouth earlier this year as part of Do It Day, which is organised by marketing and media news outlet The Drum. It was the winning campaign out of several pitched by marketing and digital agencies.

Mr Willis said: “It’s completely volunteer-run. Any funding received, we’ve put directly into campaign work. It’s been very rewarding. “We worked with the Drum initially and they have been very supportive. They’re very keen to see what we can do. They’re even looking to amplify what we do down here and turn try and get people on a national level talking about this. We’re seeing lots of interest nationally.”

Dorset Mind’s chief executive Marianne Storey said: “We’re so excited to take part in this campaign alongside Why Digital, Bournemouth University and The Drum. It’s essential that we destigmatise mental health in the workplace.

“We believe that by sharing their experiences, business leaders can lead by example from the top down.The effect of this could completely change how mental health is viewed day to day.“Poor mental health costs every business considerably. One in six employees currently experience a mental health difficulty yet the majority will not state this as a reason for sickness or absenteeism. In real terms, a little investment can help change the workplace.”

To find out more, email hello@whydigital.net