Did you know, people who work in the creative industry are three times more likely to experience issues with mental health and well-being than the general population?

I recently completed a course held by MHFA to be Carbon Creative’s first mental health first aider. The course was dedicated to recognising and supporting the mental health of our friends and colleagues. It was an amazing opportunity to have an honest and insightful week, focussing on some important, and often complicated, topics. It really showed me how much more aware we all need to be of those around us, and the importance of opening up conversations around mental health.
The course was full of insight and advice about supporting others’ mental health and wellbeing. I wanted to share some of the tips that could guide our everyday interactions.

1. Listen

The most important thing you can do for someone experiencing mental health problems is to listen. Our brains are programmed to think of a response rather than to focus on what the other person is saying. You do not need to have the answers, your time and attention is enough.

2: Don’t minimise the experience

Sometimes we fall into the habit of trying to cheer someone up by pointing out all the ‘good things’ in their lives. You may mean well, but this response can often come across as belittling or dismissive of any negative feelings or problems that person is facing.

3. Do some research

If you are unsure how you can help someone, do your research! There are lots of online resources and advice pages – including information from our wonderful client’s and the Big Life Group for you to reference. If you feel someone needs professional support, help them find a service suitable for them in their area at Hub of Hope

4: Remember: Mental health affects everyone differently

Some people show symptoms and some don’t. The best way to work out how someone is really feeling is to ask them twice. The second time will usually give you the real answer.

5: Mental health is not taboo

We often associate mental health with ‘problems’, but just like physical health, there are degrees of wellness and wellbeing. Our mental health is something we should be taking conscious care of. The more we open up and encourage conversations around mental health, the easier it will be for people to speak out and seek support if needed.

6. Look after yourself

It’s NOT selfish to put your own gas mask on before someone else’s. If your own emotional or wellbeing tank is running low, and you need time to look after yourself, then always do so.

For more information on the course, visit: Mental Health First Aid England