About a year ago I joined Event Minds Matter a collective made up of #eventprofs dedicated to “amplifying our industry’s conversation around mental fitness and well-being.”
My reasons were three fold:
- To help advocate for our industry. Being known as one of the highest stress professions isn’t really a badge of honour is it? I felt that in order to put an end to unrealistic expectations placed on our industry, it needed to start at the top with like-minded industry leaders.
- To help me feel equipped to have conversations with employees who might be struggling. These are hard conversations to have. Both for anyone struggling and for the person they are confiding in. They are conversations that in the last few years have sadly become more necessary. I wasn’t sure I was saying the right things and felt very much out of my depth. This made me realize we needed to go a step further and help equip our leadership team to have those conversations.
- To help myself come through one of the most difficult times both personally and professionally.
The group led me to wonderful connections in our industry, one of them to Leslie Bennett, one of the founders of MentalHealthInnovations What a find! It’s amazing what you can stumble on when you turn to your network. MenthalHealthInnovations is a social enterprise specializing in the design and implementation of peer support systems for large organizations. The courses at MentalHealthInnovations were exactly what we needed.
Just reading some of the stats on @MenthalHealthInnovations site should prompt all leaders to take the step to educate their leadership and teams. "The WHO estimates the annual cost of depression and anxiety on the global economy is US $1 trillion in lost productivity. Further, by age 40, about 50% of the population will have or have had a mental illness." Whew, those are staggering stats.
We took advantage of the peer support training program. I can’t say enough of what this has done for us in taking that first step in creating a safe space for employees to have conversations around mental health.
What was involved in the peer training:
Taking an online course: WeCARE – Responding to mental distress which involved:
- An online assessment – 20 minutes to complete on our own time
- Completion of a training module prior to our workshop on our own time (30-40 mins to complete)
- A three-hour workshop for our leaders
What I learned:
- I can 100% say I feel equipped to have conversations and to conduct the right level of check-in with employees. The course also provided a set of resources and training that will be helpful for our staff and, if needed in my personal life. We will be extending the resources and having a company-wide session.
- How very much self-care matters. We all know this in our heads, but it really does make a difference in our ability to not only live our lives but to respond to what it throws at us. It’s a part of our well-being that has been sadly ignored in these last pandemic years.
- Eye-opener – just in having the small group conversations in the workshop we found almost everyone suffers from some form of anxiety and where we are on the spectrum will differ for each of us based on life circumstances and events. We need to simply acknowledge and accept it.
- That having open conversations is immensely helpful in itself.
- The course is not meant for anyone to be trained as a clinician – there are professionals for that, but it does help us understand when it might be beneficial in recommending when to see a mental health professional and the resources available.
- The course is a recognized micro-credential from Dalhousie University – a first of its kind in Canada.
- In obtaining the Level 1 micro-credential – a certificate is issued confirming that you can identify the signs of mental distress in others and the appropriate ways to respond.
Things we will immediately implement:
- A roll-out of the mental health resources to our entire organization
- Discussion in our team status on our initiatives and commitments within our org
- Continuing the Self-Care mission - instruct everyone to block a one hour time frame in their calendars each day for themselves - not work releated!
This is exactly what I was searching for as I struggled with how we could and should respond to mental health issues within our organization.
Leslie and her team are qualified, knowledgeable and great workshop facilitators. I’m hopeful that training such as this will become more commonplace and the mission to eliminate the mental health fall-out from the event industry’s historical status quo will be achieved. I invite you to join our journey!
Connect with Event Minds Matter
#mentalhealthintheworkplace #WeCare #peoplefirstculture #leadership #mentalhealthawareness
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