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Start Again

Start Again

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About this initiative

Despite having the image of a country where everything is taken care of, there are people in Switzerland that struggle with addiction, whether it’s to drugs, gaming or over-eating. As everywhere in the world, these people need help and our colleagues in Zurich wanted to provide it. So they built a partnership with a local charity that engaged clients and colleagues to help addicts re-integrate into normal life.

One of the main elements in SDG 3 Good health and well-being is the impact of mental health on people’s overall condition. Depression, for instance, has huge impact on general health and there were nearly 800,000 suicides worldwide in 2016, with men impacted with double the rate from women. Addiction is a form of mental illness, whether it’s to drugs and alcohol or behavioural traits like gaming or obesity, and needs to be addressed as part of the SDGs.

 

Our Dentsu Aegis Network office in Switzerland, based in Zurich, develop a fledgling charity partnership with Start Again, a local community organisation that provides therapy as well as everyday assistance to addicts and former addicts. But as the doctors, therapists and specialists build up professional relationships, it becomes more difficult to engage on a personal level to support the addicts. The charity was looking to bring in other people to help build personal relationships that couldn’t exist between professionals and clients, and bring in a part of normal society that has eluded these addicts for a while.

After introducing the charity Start Again and its clients to the agency in late 2016, the volunteering got off to a great start in 2017. Several stretches of weekly volunteering opportunities were filled by the colleagues in the Zurich office. The summer saw a big volleyball tournament with a team from the agency to work closely with the clients. To date 17 people out of the office of 50 have volunteered and donated 14 working days. During the summer this includes outdoor sports and during the winter it is indoor activities.

 

Said Tsedi Gyalzur from Dentsu Aegis Network Switzerland, the driving force behind the Start Again partnership: “It is a pleasure for all of us to get to know the clients of Start Again and to help them connect with peers on a friendship level. It may not seem like much to us, but this time is valuable to the clients we work with: interacting as friends, as normal, and having an opportunity to talk about other things than all their concerns and worries.”

 

And here’s the view from the charity. Anita Platzer, Bereichsleitung start again said: “Over a period of several weeks employees of Dentsu Aegis accompanied our clients to their sports and exercise program. Their openness, flexibility and creativity enabled the participants of our addiction program to spend some time outside of the immediate in-patient setting of the therapy, characterized by physical action and power. In the meantime, our staff was able to use the additional capacity to take care of important administrative and organizational tasks. Furthermore, the cooperation actively promoted the exchange between private sector companies and social institutions. An enriching experience for all parties involved.”