How to have sensitive conversations about mental health
We are excited to announce the launch of two new Calltime Mental Health guidebooks (e-books) available to read online or download or print:
A Leader’s Guide for Supporting Psychological Well-Being
A Peer’s Guide for Lending a Helping Hand
Based on the Peer and Leader online learning modules in this website’s Learning Centre, these guidebooks provide an easy to read and thorough review of how to support the mental health of your colleagues, crews, and peers. Providing insights, tips, models and resources, these guidebooks are meant to be both a learning guide to read and study, and as an ongoing reference guide to refer back to whenever you want to review concepts or to prepare for a conversation with someone you feel may be struggling.
As leaders in the fast-paced and high-stress motion picture industry, we recognize the unique challenges you face on the daily basis. You manage many moving parts—from making sure that deadlines are met, problems are addressed and that the cameras always roll.
With so much on the go, having a conversation about a crew member’s declining mental health can be especially challenging. You might feel that you’re out of your comfort zone. Sometimes, it’s hard to find the right words…
That is why knowing how to facilitate these delicate conversations can make all the difference. In fact, it’s critical for creating a safe, supportive, and productive work environment for everyone.
Within this context, we’re happy to announce that A Leader’s Guide for Supporting Psychological Well-Being is now available. The primary goal of this e-Book is to provide leaders and supervisors with practical strategies for:
Recognizing and addressing mental health (MH) and substance abuse (SA) issues among crew members
Leading and managing delicate conversations surrounding MH & SA challenges
Over the course of 4 modules included in this e-Book, you will gain deeper knowledge of how to best support your crew members’ mental health, in addition to learning about specific mental health resources and referrals.
By reading this e-Book, you will gain several benefits, including:
Step-by-step guidance on how to manage sensitive conversations
Practical, real-world language that can make these discussions easier to have
Concrete tips for improving your communication skills
Helpful strategies for demonstrating positive role modelling behaviour
Many of us have a deep desire to help others. On the one hand, helping those around us is a
way to give back to our peers and to our community. As social creatures, we derive meaning by supporting the people in their environment through positive action. Simply put: helping feels good. Yet, while the desire to help others may be strong, sometimes we aren’t quite sure how to go about it.
The better you understand the signs and symptoms of mental health problems, the more equipped you’ll be to care for yourself and assist fellow crew and union members. Within the Peers Guidebook we provide practical information, tools and support you’ll need to:
Help you take care of your own mental health, and
Help your fellow crew members do the same
Throughout the sections of this e-book, you’ll find the latest, practical mental health information about:
Mental wellness and mental illness
How to help others in need of support
Initiating and managing sensitive conversations
Empathy and communication
It is important to remember that we’re not born knowing how to have delicate conversations about mental health. The fact that you’re interested in these e-Books shows that you care—it’s a courageous first step into strengthening your capacity to be there for your fellow union members and crew mates, and make a positive difference in their lives.
With already so much on your plate, be proud of yourself for taking the time to further your knowledge!
Although conversations about mental health are delicate and sometimes difficult to initiate, you don’t have to change who you are to have this conversation. Your unique personality and strengths are invaluable. You have something to bring to the table.
Lastly, recall that the goal is to build a positive connection and sense of trust; this can be very helpful to ease tensions, should they arise. Be mindful of your tone and how you express concern. Your goal isn’t to diagnose or ‘solve’ your colleague or friends problems; rather, it’s to hold space for the expression of difficult emotions, create a sense of safety, and provide resources and referrals if they’re needed.
Most importantly—trust your gut and tap into your inner sense of compassion and empathy.