Mental Health in the events industry
Updated: Apr 11, 2021
Mental health was something I never thought about. I had family members and friends who suffered and I would always use the ignorant line "think positive, you're fine, you have nothing to be sad about". I would always get them to try and 'flip' the thought. 'You're nervous? Naah, that's excitement!' I've always believed things like feeling nervous was so close to the feeling of excitement - it was just how you viewed it. Never realising it's something that you don't have control over. It comes out of nowhere and can knock you for six if you don't recognise the symptoms or take care of yourself. Your brain can completely rewire itself.
Before you know it, you're having panic attacks and doubting everything you ever knew. And it's not your fault.
Working in the events industry can be a challenge at the best of times. With client demands, the pressure to be creative, being extremely organised, staying one step ahead of the game whilst appearing stoic and unnerved and providing a 5* service for delegates, clients and your team every day has its challenges. It's unsurprising that many people feel inadequate and simply not good enough to do their job. It's not because they can't do their job - it's because of anxiety /depression/OCD, whatever it might be is stopping them from thinking logically and clouding our view. We're left feeling unsure of our self, being unproductive, unmotivated and less focused then we may previously have been.
Spotting the signs are not always easy. People suffering try to make things look normal so that their outside worlds do not match what they are experiencing on the inside. If you notice a colleague
lacking interest in the things that would excite them before but say they're fine
becoming withdrawn and showing less interest in socialising
struggling to stay focused and productive in the workday but always look busy
quality of work has reduced but say their workload is manageable
changes in behaviour
expressing feelings of tiredness all the time/general lack of energy
check-in with them and see how you can help. Have an open and frank discussion with what you have noticed, and create a safe space so they can speak honestly. Create solutions to help the person suffering get back on track with accountability goals to achieve together. Have a list of resources ready to give them with helplines, local groups, self help books or online courses. Ultimately it is down to the individual to seek help but offering an ear and some patience to work through their troubles. Therapy isn't an overnight fix and the road to 'recovery' is a rollercoaster.
Mental health doesn't disappear overnight, so whilst you may hear someone say, "I'm okay, I've got this!" know that they're most likely having one good day out of the ten terrible days. It's an ongoing process and can take years to fight the battle. Keep checking in, keep asking what you can do to help. You might not understand but do some research. Not just on what you can do to help but what it's like for someone suffering. Many Youtube videos eloquently put how people are feeling and the science behind it.
If you are suffering, know you are not alone. You are one bad-ass who will come out the other side. Take each day as it comes and do one thing a day that makes you happy. Open up at work so they can help your workloads. Don't pressure yourself to feel 'fixed' just because you've had therapy - take it easy. I am always open to chat if you need someone to talk to, please reach out. Take care of yourself x
This too shall pass
Feelings are just visitors
I accept myself for who I am