Dear Liz, is there anybody out there?

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with everything and I don’t feel like I can discuss it with my line manager. Who can I turn to and where can I get help?

This week is Mental Health Awareness week and a number of agencies and organisations have arranged events to raise awareness around what support is available and to remove the stigma of asking for help. 

Not everyone finds it so easy to talk to someone. There is a range of self-help books to help us think our way out of problems but the answer cannot always be found in a book. And despite what we may believe, we can’t always solve our own problems. Stress, work overload, money issues, relationship challenges, addiction, family pressures and depression are all part of being human and as humans, we need to connect. We need to talk it through, be heard and find space to air what is occupying our heads and impacting our sleep. If you are resistant to seeking help you may want to examine why you feel this way a little more closely; where does that feeling come from, what happened the last time you asked for help, what does asking for help mean to you and what is that fear really all about.

The good news is that there are people you can talk to.

NABS is the employee support organisation for the advertising and media industry. They have a free advice line (0800 707 6607) where you can have a confidential chat with an unbiased advisor. In the first quarter of this year NABS Advice Line took922 calls which is the highest number of calls in any quarter over the past six years. This is a testament to the recent high-profile campaigns aimed at demolishing the stigma surrounding mental illness. Almost one-third (29%) of people calling in Q1 were getting in touch seeking emotional support – the biggest reason for calling – followed by requests for financial assistance (20%) and issues around redundancy (13%). Your agency doesn’t need to be a member for you to access this service.

NABS also run a number of events throughout the year that give advertising and media practitioners the tools they need to deal with stress in a positive and productive way. These include:

  • A masterclass in Building Resilience to Pressure
  • One-to one Stress Coaching
  • Mindfulness for Busy Parents

Check them out at NABs. Many agencies are fully paid up members of NABS so you may be able to access their full offering.

They also launched their wellbeing model SHEPARD in 2017. It’s based on cutting-edge neuroscience and offers a framework - the first of its kind for the industry – that lets people and organisations see all the elements that make up well-being. 

Other support is also available to you. You may feel like you can’t talk to your line manager but he/she has a role to play in your wellbeing along with your HR team. You may be also fortunate to have a buddy and or a mentor that you can confide in. If you don’t have one, you may want to request or find one. Check to see if your agency has an Employee Assistance programme which may offer counselling support. You may find your Private Medical insurance may also offer some provision. Do some digging.

There is no need to feel alone. You can choose help. And, after all, it is good to talk.


Last updated 21 January 2022