SKillness® is a bold celebration of strengths and accomplishment, designed to challenge common assumptions and stigmas linked with mental illness in the workplace. Online and outdoor media is used to celebrate two successful, dynamic people who thrive at work in the context of their whole-selves – including their mental-illness.

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  • The overarching goal was to produce something that would reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and work for two main target groups: 1) individual’s (or ‘workers’) between the ages of 16 – 35, and 2) business leaders in the local area. We aimed to achieve this through messaging that could illustrate the ways that mental health and work relates to all of us; that demonstrates the success that people with mental illness can enjoy in the workplace, without glossing-over the difficulties; and which could evoke a sense of pride and empowerment for young local people with lived-experience.

  • Initially we did some design research and consulted with several people living with mental illness. This stage further informed the brief: to produce a gritty, authentic brand that empowers people and challenges stigmas. The first and biggest challenge was coming up with the name. Two blocks with the words ‘mental illness’ are scrawled over to give us SKillness. An unseen empowered person has taken charge of this brand and made it their own. We further developed the campaign with our ambassadors Kimberley and Alan - individuals who live with their respective conditions of Anxiety and Depression, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

  • Evidence indicates that SKillness can challenge assumptions and deliver a shift in attitude and promote inclusivity. After seeing the posters of Alan and Kimberley, surveyed visitors to the exhibition described Alan and Kimberley as: inspiring, positive, confident, strong. After seeing both the posters and the video all the participants who believed that “people with mental illnesses should not participate in the workforce” expressed the view that Alan or Kimberley could do as good a job as anyone else. 20% of those who visited the exhibition and participated in the evaluation self-disclosed as part of that process and were offered support.

  • As a campaign and brand, SKillness offers unique value and reach because it strategically addresses both public and internalised stigmas through one daring message: It’s your SKillness, not your illness that’s important when it comes to work. SKillness shows us how the experience of managing mental illness can reveal tremendous toughness in people, and that qualities associated with some illnesses can be harnessed as strengths in the right work environments. Vox-pop style interviews featured on the website ( allow us to hear more from the ambassadors themselves on what SKillness means to them. This is an opportunity to hear Kimberley and Alan talk openly and proudly about the strength and ability that can be found within their lived-experience and, importantly, the ways that this meaningfully relates to their work and vocation. We also hear about the difficulty, allowing young people with lived experience to be exposed to relevant and realistic insights on what it means to find the right fit when pursuing work-related goals. The SKillness campaign is comprised of media assets used in bus stop posters, road-side billboards, Interactive poster screens (located in shopping centers), newspaper editorials, specialty exhibition stands, and on the dedicated SKillness website (