The Big Interview: Will Young
Mental Health awareness has been thrust into the limelight nationwide over the last few years.
Extra money has been provided to the NHS and organisations up and down the country, from schools to corporations, have put policies and support networks in place to help those struggling. In our world, EventWell has been very active on the matter.
A number of us worry about things like rent and mortgages, our children’s wellbeing or our jobs.
Event professionals work in a demanding environment, with finite deadlines to meet and endless people to please. As an employer, you have a duty of care to your personnel.
A positive step you can take is to listen to those with experience to help paint a picture of how mental health issues can impact on your business. You could even bring someone into your organisation to talk to your team directly.
Speaker agency Kruger Cowne introduced us to singer and songwriter, and former Pop Idol winner, Will Young. Young has joined the speaker circuit, and his personal experiences with mental health issues has taught him some valuable lessons.
How important is the subject of mental health to you?
It is essential not only to remain vigilant and nurturing to my own health but also to tell my story, give my opinions and hear other people’s stories so it becomes normalised.
You are obviously in the public eye but does mental health wellbeing go hand in hand with, or in pursuit of, financial success?
Yes it totally does. When I go into companies I use myself as a ‘business model’. As I have looked after my mental health more and more my pursuit for financial success has actually improved.
How important is it for a company to provide an environment for its employees to reduce stress and associated mental health issues?
It is essential. The reason
being that unhappy, stressed, and isolated employees are simply unable to serve themselves or their companies in the best way. Removing the shame, providing safe spaces and concentrating on employee’s wellbeing will create a better brand for the company and make it more welcoming for everyone.
Should people be encouraged to share their issues?
They can be encouraged by hearing other people’s issues. The space has to be safe. Confidentiality is essential. Companies have to remember this. It can be a chicken and egg situation. It takes the first person to share.
Have you any tips for self-care; what small steps can people take to keep their minds healthy?
Talk, talk. talk! Share with people you feel safe with. When things build up they become toxic and we turn ourselves inside out. Express it, draw it, journal it, speak it or even dance it!
You’re now on the conference speaking circuit, is this an issue you feel you’d like to help educate companies on?
Yes. It’s been a wonderful surprise for me. Given my own journey I wanted to share about mental and physical wellbeing and it has been a dream come true actually. Sometimes companies just need to hear from someone they can hopefully relate to and that’s what I try to do.
Do you think live events are a good platform for raising awareness?
One hundred percent yes. It is the best thing to hear people’s stories and actually an honour. The live events I do have become not just an hour of speaking and listening, they have turned into microcosms or sharing and supporting and curiosity.
Curiosity is the key. Be curious about what you are feeling, curious about what others are feeling. All this done within the cocoon of self-love. We gain empathy for ourselves and others and this can only make our working lives and our companies a better and far more well-oiled place to be.