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Mental Health Week: Always

Like any worthy cause, mental health gets its week or month in the Sun every year. But what happens during the other 11 months or 51 weeks?

We’re keen to ensure that mental wellbeing stays at the top of the agenda all year round. That’s why we recently partnered with NABS in the UK to check in and give you a chance to get access to the best industry relevant support around.

NABS are the creative, media and advertising industry charity focused on providing mental and financial support for individuals in our industry. From helplines to programs and dedicated resources, they’re unsurprisingly under the pump right now – and we couldn’t be luckier to have their support.

Why get in touch with NABS?

If you’ve been made redundant, feeling signs of mental ill-health, having trouble at home, or struggling financially, the team at NABS can help. They can help find the right support and next steps that you need to improve your current situation. Their support and advice is confidential and free. You’ll speak to someone who’s worked in the industry and can probably relate to your situation.

The team at NABS can refer you to a psychologist, provide financial support through their grants schemes (criteria apply) or just provide an empathetic, non-judgmental ear to whatever’s happening in your world right now. Check out their case studies to see how they’ve helped others.

Visit their website https://nabs.org.uk/ to see everything that they have to offer.

Call them on 0800 707 6607.

Donate to NABS

NABS relies on donations from individuals and corporations to operate and provide it’s free services. Please consider giving today – https://nabs.org.uk/about-nabs/donations/

Watch the session with NABS below, or read the answers to some of the questions we discussed under the video.

Your questions, answered.

Given we had NABS’ incredible expertise in front of us (in the form of the wonderful Annabel McCaffrey) we wanted to give you every chance to make the most of the opportunity. So we opened things up to let you ask your own questions based on how you’re traveling right now.

It’s fair to say there’s still stigma around mental illness. How would you best approach calling in sick for the sake of your mental health?

I think ultimately you have to do what you are most comfortable with. Think about who you will tell. Who will most validate your feelings, think about who you might need to speak to. It can feel very brave to show that vulnerability and you might be very surprised – everyone’s having moments of struggle.

I’m not going to say, Oh, just make that call because it has to be about how comfortable you feel. And I’m going to turn the statistics on their head a little bit, because actually what we’re really encouraging at NABS is a very big focus on leadership. To be aware, or to become more aware of people’s mental health.

If your company has already spoken about it, if you know that they are generally supportive, then it’s very likely you’re going to have a positive response. If you can lead by example in this way, then you’re helping other staff too. But above all, you have to be comfortable yourself.

There are probably more and more businesses now that have a mental health policy, and you’d expect part of that mental health policy includes mental health days. So if your business does have that, then at least there’s that to fall back on.

If you don’t have the confidence, then it’s perfectly ok to just say you’re sick. Like that’s okay. In recent research we found that people who have high levels of anxiety or depression are twice as likely not to speak up. So if you’re in the middle of something and you’re at that point, then take a day off.

It’s likely the last thing you feel like doing right then is talking about it. Once you’ve got through that time you can always talk to your boss about it later. You can say, just so you know, a couple of weeks ago, this is how I was feeling. And then you can talk about it on your terms, not when you’re at your lowest point.

How do I start the conversation with my boss to tell him that I’m having counselling and that the sessions may take place during the Workday?

if the company has a mental health policy you can be more confident that they will be open to that, but appreciate for your boss, it’s also balanced. Again, it’s important to choose the right moments for when you feel confident to talk about it.

You can talk about it confidently and positively. It’s very much the idea of showing them that you are looking after yourself. You’re modeling behaviour and taking charge of your mental health. So starting from that positive point you can say that in order that I can continue to be the best that I can at work I’m getting counselling to make sure I can still do my job brilliantly.

Something I just want to reiterate is that with all of these questions, anybody can call the advice line and you can talk it through with one of the NABS team first.

We have mental health first aiders in our company, but without physical presence in the office, how can you spot those that are in distress?

it’s something, I think we’re all sort of struggling with because we’re so disconnected right now. I think my immediate reaction is around putting in place some social contact for everybody as an imperative.

At NABS we do this twice a week in my team. We have a half an hour coffee and chat.

It’s a social coffee and chat, but as the team leader, I’m looking around at everybody, I’m sort of checking that tone of voice. I’m checking the body language a little bit. Are they being quieter than normal?

Create the opportunities that are lighthearted, a bit more social, that make that chance for connection and uplift. If you’ve had a giggle about something we’ve shared about a book or a television program, make that connection. But then use it as an opportunity to contact them and say, I just noticed that you’re a bit quiet and I’m wondering how you are.

I’ve seen a lot of businesses put much more effort now into the socializing and contact with their staff than perhaps they would have done before.

You could argue that maybe we’ve had enough of videoing. I had a phone call with someone the other day that was actually quite refreshing. A phone call can be like a walking meeting. Stick your headphones on and kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

Another good point is that we’re missing our spontaneous chats, the creativity and relaxed nature of walking and talking. It frees the brain up.

What would you suggest to help boost your motivation levels?

Be motivated in how you’re going to behave, rather than focusing on your task list and lots of things to-do. I might get through them, but you know what? I still don’t feel particularly motivated.

If what you’ve actually done is brighten somebody’s day or made their lives a little bit easier… that can be so much more rewarding.

Impacting others in a positive way can be a really positive way to motivate yourself. We can get a lot from helping others or having a positive impact on others.

Think about your personal values. We’re always so consumed by our task list. If we’ve had a positive influence on somebody else, that’s even more worthwhile.

Andy Wright

Andy is the Managing Director at Streamtime. Previously a co-founder of For The People who designed the new Streamtime. Andy is charged with making sure we're making the best possible product to help creatives and the creative industry to be as successful as possible.

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