The subject of wellness in the events industry was again discussed this year at International Confex, with a panel of experts debating the importance of leadership in addressing mental health in the work place. The panel looked to move discussions forward into how event professionals can strive towards better wellness in the work place, and the important role of employers and leadership.
The panel consisted of Jenner Carter, Head of Marketing at Lime Venue Portfolio and Marketing Chair at the HBAA, James Hitchen, General Manager of the Event Marketers Association (EMA), and Laila Datoo, mindful business coach. As well as sharing top tips for work place wellness with the audience, the panel emphasised the importance of employers, and the need for the right level of training and awareness from senior leadership.
“The industry has discussed at length the level of stress and anxiety found within event professionals, and awareness has been driven by some really great initiatives. However, to turn awareness into action, leaders need to be trained to both spot staff showing signs of illness, and to intervene where possible,” commented Jenner, who recently picked up a qualification in Mental Health First Aid, through the HBAA.
“One of the things we learn through Mental Health First Aid is the early warning signs, and how to handle intervening in a sensitive but professional manor,” continued Jenner. “We use the acronym ALGEE, approach / assess / assist; listen without judgement; give support; encourage them to seek help from professionals; encourage them to seek help from other supports such as friends and family.”
James Hitchen added: “I agree that discussing these issues is important but it is now time to take action. We need to be thinking about prevention rather than just managing the symptoms of poor mental health. Leaders in business need to support their teams in improving their mental fitness. I believe it is a company’s responsibility to create conditions that supports living well. A company with a culture of wellbeing is happier, healthier, more productive and more profitable.
Laila concluded: “The key to well-being is understanding yourself and knowing what your stress and well-being triggers are. What causes you stress and what makes you feel good? Learning these and understanding yourself is the first step in managing your well-being. Companies have a great responsibility to provide the space and support to create a well-being structure, be that formal (through well-being programmes) or informal. Business leaders need to start equating well-being with performance and productivity. The happier and healthier your people, the better your bottom line.
We shouldn’t wait for absenteeism figures to rise, people to leave or burnout or the culture to become toxic to address this.”
The HBAA continues to run Mental Health First Aid for event industry professionals, full details are available here.