People in all walks of life can suffer from mental health issues, but the cases are far more prominent in stressful industries including the events industry. The events industry is known for its high pressure and over-scheduled burnout that comes with generating new ideas every day within the constraints of budget, timing, and the chaos of the modern work environment.
After paramedics and firefighters, event management is voted as the 3rd most stressful job. It is reported that 1 in 3 event professionals suffer from mental illness during their career. In the UK, over 1.3 million people have suffered from workplace stress. Two-thirds don’t get the treatment due to neglect, stigma, cost, and wait times. (Eventwell, 2019)
With a significant increase in the number of event professionals reporting mental health issues, the importance of addressing these issues and providing adequate support has grown in recent years.
How can employers help?
Even though mental health remains somewhat of a sensitive topic, it is important to break down barriers and change the workplace culture to protect everyone's mental health. Investing in mental health initiatives for leaders and employees of an organisation can help in several ways. Employers can prevent unnecessary stress by providing support before any issue arises.
- Mental Health First Aid Training
Mental Health First Aid in the workplace is important for the health and well-being of your team and company.
Create a mental health toolkit and brief your employees about the tools, techniques, and coping mechanisms. Arrange sessions to educate your team on how to spot the signs in the workplace, as well as tools for support. Remember to tell your team who's been trained in MHFA so they know who to turn to for extra guidance when needed.
- Open and honest discussions
Organisations can support employees by creating policies and mandates around workplace harassment, bullying, and mental health issues. Managers, senior leaders, HR and employees can contribute to a positive work environment by promoting supportive and confidential helplines to identify and respond to issues before they escalate.
- Focus on Early Intervention/Prevention
Considering that we spend about 60% of our time at work, and that includes dealing with deadlines, behaviours and personalities of co-workers, management styles, educating about healthy ways to cope with stress can be helpful.
Early interventions including identification of distress, negative thoughts, harmful use of psychoactive substances, and informing staff that support is available to overcome these issues can protect and promote mental health in the workplace.
- Improve Productivity and Engagement
Not everyone works in the same way, let your employees use their skills and adapt to the way they work. Provide clear objectives and measurable KPIs. In this way, your employees will see you playing a role in helping them to be their best selves.
Help your employees to take rest when they need it. If your corporate space allows, provide an area that encourages head-space or downtime. Encourage your staff to take breaks away from computer screens.
Multiple studies show that when staff are under pressure, taking time out can increase focus and productivity when they return.
- Employee surveys
Start with anonymous employee well-being and happiness surveys, leadership reviews, suggestion boxes, regular one-on-one meetings, focus groups and informal discussions.
This will help to benchmark current feelings as well as highlight red flags and areas that require more attention and support.
- Create some fun activity
Jigsaw puzzles, activities, inspirational stories, and to-do-lists aren't just child's play. Research proves that engaging employees in stress-buster activities is extremely powerful for increasing focus, positivity, and self-esteem.
- Prioritise confidentiality and anonymity
Even though mental health might be normalised in your workplace, some people might still feel uncomfortable discussing it, particularly if they struggle with addiction or any trauma. Reassure your staff that their use of mental health resources will never be monitored or tracked and their privacy is your top concern.
Times are changing and so is the perspective on mental health. Speaking about mental health should be accepted.
If you’re struggling with any mental health issue, please seek help via:
- Mind - www.mind.org.uk
- NHS Every Mind Matters - www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters
Are you taking care of your mental health and that of your employees? Please let us know in the comments.