Looking after our mental health at a time like this is very important, so we wanted to share some resources from organisations and schemes that can help support events and entertainment industry workers through this difficult and ever-changing time.
Those of you who are self-employed can start applying for government support on the SEISS scheme from this week. No one likes paperwork, but there’s a really comprehensive and easy to follow guide here that might help you assemble what you need and reduce the stress of the application process a little.
The event and entertainment industries have been hit particularly hard and we’re all dealing with any number of different stressors, from financial worries to concerns about friends and family, from the loss of routine and the sense of comradery we experience at work to general uncertainty about our future. Stress Matters is a charity set up to support mental health specifically in our industry and they have a number of different ways for you to access help.
You can call or text their confidential helpline on 07481 362 111 and talk to a Mental Health First Aider who understands the particular challenges we’re all facing in the entertainment and event industries. It’s open 8am to 8pm and you can talk or WhatsApp about what’s worrying you, free of judgement. If you’ve never used a service like this before, it might be daunting to take the first step, but you’ll be talking to someone who gets where you’re coming from and wants to support you.
If you don’t feel you need support from someone with specific mental health training but might just like to talk things through with a neutral person, you can sign up to the Support Buddy scheme. This is a system set up specially for events industry people, particularly freelancers. You’ll be paired with a peer and support each other’s wellbeing by listening, rather than attempting to fix problems, and share each other’s load. One of the best ways to support your own mental health is to reach out and help other people.
If you’re feeling unable to cope or need help at night, the Samaritans are there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can call on 116 123, email firstname.lastname@example.org or even write them a letter:
PO Box 9090
STIRLING FK8 2SA
If you call, you can usually speak to someone straight away unless they’re very busy. Emails are usually answered within 24 hours and letters within 7 days (you’ll get a handwritten reply that you can keep and refer to when you need it). Volunteers are trained to listen and help you talk through your concerns, whatever they are.
There’s also some great info on their website with breathing exercises and relaxation techniques that you can try on your own.
Headspace are offering free meditations during the COVID crisis, including walking at home, dealing with panic, and relieving stress.
CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) has lockdown tips from their ambassadors.
Mind has updated its info on anxiety, panic attacks, OCD, bereavement and more to take account of the impacts of coronavirus.