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MENTAL HEALTH & THE EVENTS INDUSTRY

   (Photo credit:  Patient Care Technician )

 (Photo credit: Patient Care Technician)

Is there a major issue? 

TUESDAY // AUGUST 1, 2017

“I work best under pressure," or “if it weren't for the last minute, nothing would get done."

Events industry workers may familiarize with these statements, or statements along the same idea.

According to the CareerCast.com study of the top ten most stressful jobs in 2016, an Event Coordinator ranked number five.

The study analyzes the various factors gathered from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, other government sources, trade associations and private survey firms. These include emotional factors, such as the level of competitiveness and the level of public contact; physical demands on one’s body; stress factors such as the amount of travel required, deadlines and physical risks.

EventIndustryNews.com released a podcast titled “Health & Wellbeing in the events industry: do we need help?” The podcast revolves around the topic of stress management within the events industry and several methods industry leaders provide adequate resources for those who may benefit, including the launch of a brand new resource, EventWell.org.

According to the President of the  International Live Events Association (ILEA) UK Chapter Alistair Turner, major implications for event industry workers include:

  • Amount of sleep
  • Nutrition before, during, and after events
  • Heavy workload with few individuals involved
  • Time spent recovering after an event
  • Access to support, advice and education

Podcast Host James Dickson, Managing Director of Eventprofs Who Lunch (EWL) Club UK Helen Moon, and Turner all encourage individuals to realize the difference between good and bad stress. For instance, good stress is associated with positive outcomes, such as seeing your event come together.

Moon describes this "good" adrenaline buzz people experience after planning a large event for months and months. Of course, people stay in the industry for that very reason.

However, Moon explains, “what goes up must come down,” referring to the dramatic adrenaline drop after 16-18 hours of incessant work without thinking to rest, eat, or drink, taking a huge toll on the individual that goes unnoticed by the industry.  

So, why has it taken this long for ILEA to realize this issue when approximately 25 percent of event industry workers may experience a mental health issue? Allister explains the guilt he feels over the lagged response to health and wellbeing in the industry.

Allister put together a program two months prior to this podcast, and found a genuine concern, frustration and fear event industry workers feel regarding their own personal well being. Allister explains how the industry leaves workers to handle issues on their own, which may result in people leaving altogether, potentially losing talented individuals.  

Of course people are aware of what the job entails. Sometimes one cannot avoid receiving four hours of sleep. However, Moon describes how the industry can help make sure they receive the best four hours of sleep.

Moon launched Eventwell.org as a resource for events industry workers to access education, support, and confidentially share personal challenges with others without feeling stigma or prejudice from their fellow colleagues.

Allister believes EventWell.org will start a conversation to better help understand unique pressures within the industry, despite the events experienced in their personal lives. If industry leaders cannot understand these pressures, Allister contests that the challenges outside of the job feel ten times worse.

The biggest takeaway from the website launch, Moon explains, is that stress is normal and does not mean one will develop mental health issues. Rather, “it is all about taking care of ourselves and knowing where to go for that help and assistance,” Moon says.

When individuals complete projects within the last minute, the industry must realize huge workloads do not provide any other option. Industry leaders must understand these effects and better educate these individuals in the field on the help and support available to their team.  

You may listen to the entire podcast below.