A U.K. nonprofit that offers a wide range of career counseling and telephone support services for people in the media and advertising business has seen a 15% jump in mental health-related calls. Mental health challenges, which can include anything from the strain of adjusting to the pandemic world to employment concerns, made up 25% of all calls during the first quarter of 2022, according to figures from the National Advertising Benevolent Society (NABS).
NABS, a London-based charity that focuses on wellbeing within the United Kingdom’s advertising and media industry, also reported that its advice line received nearly twice as many calls during the quarter as it had last year — 466 for the quarter just completed, compared with 252 a year earlier.
Overall, emotional support-related issues — a category that includes mental health challenges — accounted for nearly half of the calls to the hotline. That category was followed by financial support and redundancy issues.
“Many people are contacting us with concerns relating to redundancy, confidence and career improvement following the last two years, NABS Head of Careers Uzma Afridi said via a statement. “As well as coaching, NABS can also provide financial grants to those wishing to upskill so do get in touch to see if you might be eligible.”
The nature of calls to the hotline has shifted somewhat from their primary focus on career matters. Bereavement issues, which accounted for 2% of calls during first-quarter 2021, made up 14% of calls during the quarter just ended as people increasingly deal with losses they experienced during the pandemic. Therapy referrals were up 50% from first-quarter 2021, as more people request in-depth structured support.
“Our stats clearly reveal that the pandemic has left its mark on the mental health of people across our industry,” CEO Diana Tickell said in a statement. “Our industry cannot ignore this upward trend. NABS is here to support everybody who is facing challenges with their wellbeing; if you’re struggling, please call us for help, whatever your issue.”
Beyond emotional support issues, NABS offers work- and career-related counseling. Recent topics addressed within NABS’ “masterclasses” (group coaching sessions) include managing home life and workload boundaries, overcoming self-doubt, communication skills, building personal visibility and establishing rapport when employed in a work-from-home or hybrid work situation.
Topics most frequently discussed within NABS’ one-to-one coaching sessions include: strategizing for success in new roles; negotiating career advancement and confidence rebuilding following layoffs or working from home.
Within the United Kingdom, media and advertising workers can access the NABS advice line at 0800 707 6607.
NABS is funded through a series of fundraising events and fee-based training programs, as well donations from individuals across the advertising and media industry.