Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from 13 to 19 May this week. Although the week promises to focus special attention on this important issue, it should be noted that every day poses a challenge for many when it comes to coping with stress and anxiety. The MHFA England reports that 1 in 6 workers experience depression, anxiety or problems relating to stress at any one time.
Working in the events industry is stressful. The fast pace and challenges that come with juggling unrelenting deadlines and client expectations are paramount. At Church House Westminster we harness the power of teamwork to support our in-house event coordinators and AV technicians. This support network which our teams have come to rely on, enable them to communicate with each other and to flag up in a timely manner when additional help will be needed. As a result, we often find 2 or 3 team members volunteering to step up and help those who need it.
With Sue White, Head of Client Relations at Church House, as the mental health first aider, it makes employee wellbeing a priority at the Westminster venue. The overriding message in the office is that it is okay not to be okay and the staff is encouraged to talk. Sue, who has been with Church House for over 12 years, has attended training to identify mental health issues and to help staff with heir mental health wellbeing.
Sue White commented: “Creating a work-life balance is vital to improve happiness in our office. We encourage our team to work smart and to consciously switch off from work. With Church House located in the peaceful setting of Dean’s Yard, even a quick walk outside during the day to gather your thoughts can do a world of good”.
Sue also offers practical ideas to engage in mindfulness. A handy and useful activity she recommends to re-engage with reality, and disengage from a busy mind, is the STOP method:
- S: Stop. Pause for a moment.
- T: Take a breath. Re-connect with your breath to the present moment.
- O: Observe. What is happening and how does this make you feel?
- P: Proceed or don’t, mindfully.
It makes good business sense to invest in mental health awareness. Employers can look forward to lower absenteeism and increased productivity and loyalty that comes with nurturing motivated and engaged employees.
At the same time, we have seen a trend for wellbeing for events. Clients are looking to us to rise to the challenge. With our in-house catering partner, CH&CO, we have created a wellbeing working lunch which offers sustainable food options, a menu that is primarily plant-led and aims to combat environmental damage and encourage healthy eating. Church House donates 25p to the British Heart Foundation for every one of these menus sold. The British Heart Foundation also offers a chance for event organisers to add a wellness workshop to their events. Workshop choices include measuring heart health and how to deal with stress.