Conference News September 2021 - Page 29

29 Mental health

Once upon

A PANDEMIC

Laura Capell-Abra , founder of Stress Matters , looks back at some of the touching eventprof stories from the past 18 months .
n the summer of 2021 , as I pause to reflect on the past 18 months , I can ’ t help but see it as a fairy story . Maybe one of those dark fairy stories . Everything has a touch of the surreal about it .
Me and the team at Stress Matters have had the huge privilege of hearing so many stories over the past 18 months .
Some of the stories have been magical , fairytale-like where people have found courage they didn ’ t know they had and started their own businesses . Some people have found the person they want to spend the rest of their life with . Some have brought babies into the world , and some are learning what it takes to be a puppy parent . Some stories have been devastatingly sad at points : people ’ s businesses collapsing , people ’ s savings being wiped out , relationships breaking up and people experiencing a complete sense of loss .
Every single one of the stories that we ’ ve heard has been a reminder of how resilient the people that work in this industry are .
In April 2020 , we launched a support line for the events industry . To do this , we held a training course for seven volunteers from the industry who we had previously trained as mental health first aiders . This team became the backbone of our support line for six months , and handled a peak of 18 people contacting us a day as the industry started to navigate what shutting the industry would really mean .
One person called four nights on the
Laura Capell-Abra
trot . She was going through a tough time . She was so worried about becoming ill and was having arguments with her partner as they were both feeling so much stress about what was going to happen financially .
She was still working but was in the process of making some of her team redundant and knew that she was going to be next . Something that I ’ d never appreciated before www . conference-news . co . uk