Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, the UK Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from 18-24 May, with the very apt theme of 'kindness'.
The events industry has made great leaps and strides in the way it talks about mental health in recent years. Studies have been carried out, organisations have been created and many businesses are making real changes to how they operate.
Unsurprisingly, the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown has made it even more vital for mental health support to be front and centre. Businesses are without work, employees and freelancers are isolated and the future is uncertain. At some point or other, the majority of us will be facing some level of anxiety and stress as a result of the current situation.
Different individuals and organisations across the events industry have been marking Mental Health Awareness Week with initiatives, advice, support and social activities. Additionally, the Mental Health Foundation has released some statistics around the week’s 2020 theme of kindness:
Almost three-quarters of UK adults (72 per cent) say it is important we learn from the coronavirus pandemic to be more kind as a society.
Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of UK adults say that when people are kind to them, it has a positive impact on their mental health.
Almost two-thirds of UK adults (63 per cent) say that being kind to others has a positive impact on their mental health.
Laura Capell-Abra, Founder of workplace wellbeing business Stress Matters, says: With kindness being the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week, we've got our action right there. Reaching out to each team member to check-in and see how they're actually doing. Listening to our employees when they aren't doing so well and being non judgemental.
“We each have our very own unique experience of what is going on right now so we can't assume we know how someone is. Treating each employee as unique and listening, really listening to them. If your team leaders don't have the skills or confidence to have that kind of conversation, then acknowledging that and training them so they can will show everyone that you care.”
At Collaborative Creations, communication has been a vital part of our mental health and wellbeing strategy since the company first launched almost a year ago. In lockdown staying in touch with employees and staying on top of their anxieties and stressors has been even more important.
Whether employees are still working or currently furloughed, we maintain regular welfare calls and endeavour to talk as openly as possible about the impact coronavirus is having on our young business.
Wellbeing and stress consultant James Hitchens comments: "Mental health awareness is important all the time. At the moment we are going through a challenging time full of uncertainty and for many this is having a negative impact on their mental health. Now is the time to come together and support those that are struggling breaking down the stigma that still surrounds mental health. I urge anyone who is struggling to reach out and ask for help. It is okay not to be okay and there is plenty of support out there."
For employers looking for advice and guidance on mental health support, many of the event industry associations are offering various resources for their members. The Association of Event Organisers, the Association of Event Venues and the Event Supplier Services Association, for example, offer their respective members a mental health wellbeing kit called “Head’s Up” which provides resources, information and support.
The COVID-19 lockdown and the shutdown of the events industry is something that we’re all experiencing together, and we shouldn’t downplay the impact it is continuing to have on the world of live events and entertainment.
The ‘kindness’ theme of Mental Health Awareness Week couldn’t be more vital to keep in mind at this moment in our history, and we’ve already been seeing some fantastic examples of businesses doing what they can to help competitors, local communities and workers.
We’re far from out of the woods, but let’s take this week to be thankful for how far we’ve already come, and do continue supporting each other, our employees and our industry.