Mental Health Awareness Week 2022

type - features
sector - health & wellness

Rounding up Mental Health Awareness Week, we take a look at the latest insights, market shifts and innovations making waves in the world of mental wellness

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13 May 2022

Author: The Future Laboratory

Image: Blaque, US


Woo, UK

1. Remixing the wellness model for Gen Z

Stephen Mai, the founder of Woo, a next-gen media brand merging content and retail, spoke to us to discuss how wellness can be reframed as feel-good culture.

"Woo is a new media and culture brand redefining wellness for Generation Z. It aims to make mental health and wellbeing solutions more aspirational, culturally relevant and democratic. It's merging things like pop culture and wellness, taking anything that Generation Z are passionate about and packaging it in a way that is relatable – not alienating or cheesy.

I’ve always been interested in how entertainment can shift cultural narratives, but the challenge for me was: how do you create a media proposition without things like advertising revenues attached? How can you scale a model without access to those funds? That’s how Woo came about. It’s a media proposition that's underwritten by a marketplace."

Key takeouts:

  • Woo is merging categories like pop culture and wellness to make mental health and wellbeing solutions more aspirational, culturally relevant and democratic
  • Its editorial output will promote cultural conversations on music, sexual wellness and drugs, while its retail channel will host a range of lifestyle brands
  • Generation Z are 1.4 to 2.3 times more likely to be diagnosed with a mental health condition than Gen Xers or Baby Boomers (source: McKinsey & Co)
Read the full article
Black Storm in partnership with The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), designed by Wonderstuff

2. The alcohol brands looking out for men's wellbeing

As the definition of nutrition broadens to include mental wellbeing, men are seeking more nuanced support and recognition from the brands they purchase. 

Key takeouts:

  • Everyday environments like pubs and football pitches are becoming the domain of wellness brands, spaces where they can connect with consumers on their own terms
  • Drinks brands are exploring the food-as-medicine movement, tapping into the social aspects of drinking to promote open conversations about mental health
  • As public perceptions around gender continue to evolve, drinks companies are using packaging design and branding to redefine masculinity
Read the full article
Open Spaces by Pattern Brands, US

3. Modernising Meditation

Shedding its previous associations with yogi lifestyles and wellness retreats, meditation is becoming a routine element in people’s daily lives. As Covid-19 has accelerated its engagement and normalised the adoption of daily rituals, meditation is being reframed as an accessible activity that can also incorporate tasks like tidying and organisation.

According to research released by UCL in June, more than half of the UK population are now exercising or meditating at least once a day as a result of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Spotify is one platform supporting users in mindful practices with the launch of its Daily Wellness playlist, curated to bring meditative music and podcasts to users. With 90% of people considering listening to music as a key part of relaxation, according to a recent study by Deezer, the platform’s move into the wellness sector signifies a wider shift into the mainstream adoption of meditative rituals.

Key takeouts:

  • Some 53% of US senior citizens meditate at least once a week (source: appinventiv)
  • More than a quarter of adults agree that skincare products are relaxing, creating an opportunity for brands to make products that enhance relaxation and reduce stress (source: Mintel)
  • During the Covid-19 lockdown, sales of self-care products for at-home relaxation rose, with consumers favouring products like body oils and home scents (source: The NPD Group)
Read the full article

4. Race-empowered wellness

From fitness platforms to sonic escapism, global majority communities are launching transformational healing services away from their oppressors.

Key takeouts:

  • According to the Commonwealth Fund, 39% of black US citizens have experienced stress, anxiety and sadness during the pandemic
  • Messaging around wellness is often white, Euro-centric and lacks representation of black communities and people of colour (POC)
  • New brands and initiatives are providing spaces for holistic wellbeing centred around community and healing
  • The sector must address the need for healing and community, allowing communities of colour to share and connect over their experiences
Read the full article
NoireFitFest, UK
YSM8 by Reform The Funk

5. Re-centering wellness on POC experiences

The wellness sector must consider historical Black, brown and POC wellness practices and lived experiences. For brands, it begins with listening and learning. We spoke to Poonam Dhuffer, founder of self-awareness and community care platform YSM8, to find out more:

"In the Western world, community care has largely been erased to sell us an individualistic ideal of being ‘well’ built upon Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. What Maslow failed to understand was spirituality, ancestral knowledge and multiple dimensions of reality. He didn’t add in the perspective of an individual within the context of community needs.

Black, brown and POC communities need to see themselves represented authentically in a way that celebrates our identities within the wellness world."

Key takeouts:

  • For wellness brands, the future lies in rethinking how to engage and support communities beyond product sponsorship or marketing
  • Black, brown and POC communities need to see themselves represented authentically in a way that celebrates our identities within the wellness world, without erasing parts of ourselves
  • Collaborate more closely with POC practitioners of different abilities and focus; stop assuming and start asking the right questions, talking to people about their lived experiences
Read the full article

Want to learn more about the initiatives we're taking?

Our team are constantly striving for betterment in all areas, particularly for people and the planet. By holding ourselves and each other to account in a compassionate way, we have built a culture that allows each of us to do our best work. To this end, the team have drawn up a Cultural Charter – a statement of intent and a vision for the next stage of growth and development for the company.