The Rising Cost of Anxiety and Stress in the Events and TV Industry
Working in the events and TV industry can be an incredibly rewarding experience. I’ve been in both industries for 25 years and I can testify to the thrill of watching an event or program unfold seamlessly before a captivated audience. Yet, hidden behind the glitz and glamour of the velvet curtain, there is a huge cost being paid.
There is a mental health crisis in the events and TV, and it is only recently having a spotlight shone upon it.
Just how big is this crisis?
Film & Television Charity’s Looking Glass survey reported that 52% of the 10,000 respondents had considered suicide. Whilst the events industry is now considered to be the 3rd most stressful sector in the UK (up from 5th position in 2017), with 38% of event professionals experiencing mental health issues (Eventwell 2019).
So, what can we do to help ourselves and others who might be suffering?
The three prominent mental health issues in both sectors are stress, anxiety and depression. Looking at each of these individually may help identify where you or others are suffering.
Stress can be caused by external forces putting pressure on to you. These pressures, when considered individually, may be manageable, but when their effects are compounded together, they can become overwhelming.
Asking the following questions could help identify where the pressure is coming from and lead to how to relieve it:
– Do you think that you are being given too much work?
– Do you feel like you don’t have enough time to complete your work?
– Are there personal pressures that are competing for your time?
– How much time do you have just for you?
Anxiety is a perfectly normal response to certain situations. However, our anxiety response is not meant to put us into fight or flight when we get an email from our boss on a Friday night. An anxiety response is supposed to prepare us to deal with an imminent threat (such as a tiger at the entrance to our cave).
Worrying or ruminating over what may happen, or what happened in the past, is a very common cause of anxiety. Look into what causes your anxiety to spike, write it down and then see if you can find a pattern. Then you can try to resolve the issue.
For more on controlling anxiety, read my article ‘Breaking The Anxiety Spiral’.
Depression is complex and can range from feeling hopeless and useless, to physically not being able to get out of bed, to suicidal ideations.
Be on the lookout for feeling the need to be more isolated or the desire to take more days off work – Ask yourself the questions in the stress section to establish if any of these may be a cause of the desire not to go into work.
If you’re feeling depressed, go to your GP or a qualified therapist to talk about what’s going on for you. You are not alone.
What else can we do to help?
If you’re suffering from stress, anxiety or depression, the best thing you can do is reach out for help. Simply talking about what’s going on can help you to recognise your issues and start to take control over them, rather than feeling that it’s them controlling you.
If you’re feeling depressed, your GP will be able to advise on the right course of action or treatment to help get you back on track.
Try to get a good work-life balance and be very aware of your workload. Being confident about saying ‘No’ to extra work (when you’re at capacity), is a great skill to learn and gets much easier the more you practice it.
A good night’s sleep and a decent sleep regime can help improve your mental health. The hours we work in the events and TV industry can occasionally be uncontrollable, so ensuring that you have a decent sleep regime when you’re not in the busy times is vital.
Getting a decent amount of exercise helps with your physical and mental health. Alongside this, a good healthy, balanced diet works wonders. Although that’s not easy when you’re in the office until 2am every day for a week, living off pizza and take-out – Making these occurrences the exceptions rather than the norm is a good goal to have.
Many people find that taking time out to practice breathing exercises, self-hypnosis or mindfulness realty helps them to gain control over their racing or anxious thoughts. Just taking 10 minutes out of your day can make an enormous difference in the long term.
Increasingly, more workplaces are training up Mental Health First Aiders – People specifically on the lookout for members of staff who might be struggling mentally. This is a fantastic step towards better mental health which should be rolled out in all companies in my opinion. I implore you to approach your HR department if you’ve not got this in place already.
One final consideration.
Everyone is unique and we all deal with stresses and pressures differently. Try not to beat yourself up if you see a colleague who seemingly breezes through an experience that you would suffer in and struggle to cope with. They are not ‘better than you’ at the job, they have either learnt how to deal with the stress, or they naturally don’t feel them in the same way as others do. Or they may be suffering in silence and putting on a brave face (as so many people do).
I’d love to read about your experiences and thoughts on the article and mental health in the events and TV industry. If you’d like to share, please leave a message in the comments below.
If you would like help with anxiety, stress or depression, do get in to see how I can help.