Event Experts: Managing Mental Health in Events

“How are you?”

In recent years, focus on our treatment of mental health in events has become increasingly scrutinised. Currently, the UK loses around £99billion every year as a result of mental health sickness. Even more worrying, around 300,000 employees lose their jobs due to mental health issues.

The statistics are worrying. Only 22% of people are willing to open up about their mental health in the workplace. A further 27% believe it would damage their career if they did. Nearly 80% of UK adults feel uncomfortable discussing their mental health with their employer. 84% would continue going to work even if they were struggling with theirs.

However, the conversation around mental health is beginning to open up. Social Media interactions largely began this change, but there is clearly still a long way to go.

Mental Health in Events

People in all walks of life can suffer from mental health issues, but they are far more prominent in stressful industries. Just behind paramedics and firefighters, the Events Industry was voted 5th most stressful.

It’s reported that 1 in 3 event professionals will suffer or have suffered from poor mental health during their career. Over 80% reported they find the industry stressful in Right Angle Events’s recent audit into well-being in the Events Industry.

This audit uncovered 64% either didn’t know about or thought there wasn’t a mechanism in place for dealing with mental health issues in their workplace. Suggesting that the events industry has some ways to go in the way it handles its employees’ mental wellbeing.

With a focus on solutions, Right Angle’s audit detail the suggestions given to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. These were grouped into the categories of ‘must’, ‘should’ and ‘could’. Business leaders then can prioritise the key changes they needed to be making.

The most commonly mentioned improvement area was education, specifically covering well-being and mindfulness coaching. There was also a common consensus that greater support is needed from employers. However, this covers a wide scope and begs the question of what exactly ‘support’ is.

Recommendations for employer improvement covered having a transparent mental health policy (‘must’) to onsite fitness and healthy eating regimes (‘could’). Also suggested was having brief 30-minute ‘#empowerhalfhour’ to talk through elements of working life causing stress or anxiety (‘should’).

Wellbeing at AlchemyLive

As the event season begins in earnest, we’ve asked our talented event managers how they manage their mental health during stressful periods.

  1. A healthy body is a healthy mind! “I find a great way to clear my head after a stressful day is to hit the gym. Even just 30 minutes makes me feel so much better and gives me time away from my phone and emails.”
  2. Taking time to rest and recuperate is key for safeguarding your mental health. Especially as the busy season means later nights and earlier mornings. “Always make sure you’re sleeping enough during busy season! Your emails will be there in the morning, take time before bed to unwind & relax.”
  3. Along with making sure you’re getting enough sleep; you should be making sure to switch off on your days off. “From working in events, I know to recognise a free weekend or evening for what it is: a precious rarity. Never underestimate the power of doing nothing.” Ensuring our team gets appropriate time-off compensation for working evenings and weekends is a key part of Alchemy’s core.
  4. The overwhelming pressure of being constantly in contact is also a key stress-point for many people. “Being clear with clients about when I’m contactable and when I’m not is a lifesaver for me. It’s helped me stop feeling like I need to be in contact day and night!” Being vigilant with your time alleviates the pressure of feeling like you always should be contactable for questions.
  5. Being aware of your own workload and what you’ll be able to deliver on can also help to reduce stress. “Learning that saying yes to everything is an unsustainable way of working was vital for me. Saying no or explaining when I’ll be able to finish a task has helped hugely with my stress with workloads.”

These are just a few ways you can safeguard your mental health working in events and reduce stress from day-to-day. Support from management with a general awareness of the stress the industry causes is also key.  This way, we are able to properly support our team through more difficult times.

Changing Attitudes to Mental Health

In recent years, the general public attitude towards mental health and our treatment of it has vastly improved. With this, the attitude towards stress and anxiety at work is also improving. However, plenty needs improving.

There are even petitions. Solicitor Jodie Hill recently began one in Leeds, calling for mandatory mental health first aiders in every office. Meaning each workplace had someone specifically trained to help anyone struggling with their mental health. The support for this shows that positive change is on the horizon.

Growing a mentally healthy workplace also doesn’t necessarily require large, expensive changes. Things as small as regular catchups with managers and flexible working hours can make vast improvements to employees’ mental wellbeing.

Looking to book your next conference with a focus on mental health in the industry? Speak to a member of our team today.