Events Minds Matter is a LinkedIn community formed to help provide support for event professionals facing mental health challenges — and to change the way these challenges are addressed by the events industry as a whole.
Maintaining mental health has been challenging for many over the course of the pandemic, including, perhaps especially, meeting and event planners. But the issues predate the pandemic, of course.
In the past, the modus operandi for event professionals feeling stressed, overwhelmed, burned out, depressed or otherwise dealing with a mental health issue was to suffer in silence, try to muscle through challenges on sheer willpower, and plaster on a smile that said, “Move on, nothing to see here.” The reasoning behind that denial often is that, while it may hurt to try to bury mental health issues under a façade of all-is-OK, even that stance is less painful than facing the stigma that all too often goes along with acknowledging a struggle with mental health issues.
Now there’s a LinkedIn group, Event Minds Matter, whose tagline doubles as its mission: “Building brave spaces to amplify the industry’s conversation on mental health.” The Event Minds Matter community, which already numbers more than 700 event professionals, faces the often-debilitating stigma head on in its About page, which explicitly says, “We share compassion, empathy and acknowledge that the labels we wear as badges of honor have contributed to a growing epidemic of a mentally unfit workforce. We are dedicated and committed to finding solutions that create a culture of realistic expectations for everyone in the event ecosystem.” This is a brave mission in an industry that tends to find pride in the fact that it usually lands on the top of lists of most stressful jobs.
The Events Minds Matter community also shares its beliefs and commitments to improve the environment for event professionals working through mental health issues. Among them, the group’s page says, are community beliefs in:
- open and transparent dialogue
- a mentally fit workforce and culture
- boundaries, fairness and respect for all
- human connection and social responsibility
- education and peer support
- setting an example for the next generation
- advocating for our fellow event professionals
- reducing the stigma that many suffer in silence
The community is committed to supporting those beliefs with actions, such as creating new, healthier models and practices, as well as developing resources event professionals can use to educate themselves and others, according to the group’s information page. The ultimate goal is to change the way mental health issues are addressed in the events industry to take away the taboos and begin a new era of openness, transparency and support.
Because those who struggle with mental health challenges so often are tacitly or explicitly encouraged to keep quiet and keep up a pretense, Event Minds Matter members are invited to share their stories and break the wall of silence that stigma around mental health has built. But that’s just the beginning of the work, said Janice Cardinale, VEMM, an event industry “heart-centric” entrepreneur and leader who founded the Event Minds Matter group in February 2022.
“Acknowledging the depth of this problem is just the beginning. Those courageous humans who have exposed their stories here on LinkedIn, did so because they wanted their voices to be heard,” she said in a post on the community site. “Sharing their personal success stories [is] brave and helped others who still suffer in silence. We want to change the stressors and praise people who get vocal about the challenges at work and find businesses who are creating spaces with respect, fairness, mental health benefits, and practices that promote a healthy lifestyle.”
She added, “We are prepared to climb a mountain if that’s what it takes to craft change.” If you are interested in scaling that mountain, supporting others or being supported in your own journey, visit the group page and share your story, your thoughts and your thoughts on how to craft that change in ways that will transform the events industry, and perhaps the world beyond as well.