Supporting Mental Health in Radio & Audio

Part of the Diversity & Inclusion Series

11 Oct 2021 1:00 pm

How do we protect the mental health of people in our industry?

We’re getting better at talking about our feelings and supporting the mental health of our listeners - but what about looking after ourselves and our colleagues?

Marking World Mental Health Day, we coming together to share the experiences and thoughts of five people working in radio and audio, and to talk about how we can look after ourselves and support each other.

As part of our Diversity and Inclusion series, this video is available to Members and Non-Members alike.

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Swarzy Macaly (our host) presents KISS Breakfast weekends at 8am, and is the host of KISS Life on Sunday evenings. Swarzy is also the voice of BBC Sounds and has presented two BBC documentaries. Swarzy is the founder of Too Much Source - an annual exhibition with live events dedicated to celebrating Black British creatives.

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Jadie Swales-Barnes hosts the Breakfast show on Beat 103. She joined the community radio station in Preston in 2019. Jadie’s been passionate about music since she could talk. She started DJing at 15, and has been open about her struggles with anxiety and depression; she says ‘music saved me!’

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Matt Smith worked at talkSPORT from 2001-2012 heading up major live sports events such as the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Matt is approaching 7 years in sobriety and now works for the charity betknowmoreUK working on special projects and supporting those who have suffered from gambling related harm.

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Sam Delaney is an author, journalist and broadcaster with twenty years experience in the media. He is the host of the mental health podcast, The Reset, which features frank and honest conversations with guests including Seth Meyers, Shaun Ryder and Alastair Campbell.

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Seani B is a DJ, BBC Radio 1Xtra presenter and Grammy award-winning producer. In June 2020 Seani joined with fellow presenter Ace to host a special edition of 1Xtra Talks discussing the murder of George Floyd and the broader topic of racial injustice and the Black community.

Where to go for mental health support

There are lots of helpful organisations that offer confidential advice and support - here’s a small selection:

  • NHS website help page, which links to the Hub of Hope. You can specify what you need help with and find nearby charities
  • Switchboard. If you identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, you can call Switchboard on 0300 330 0630 (10am–10pm every day), email chris@switchboard.lgbt or use their webchat service. Phone operators all identify as LGBT+.

If you work for a large employer (such as the BBC, Bauer, Global, Wireless, Communicorp UK) - you can also get support from the following:

  • Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) - in most cases now available to 'workers' as well as employees. Programmes vary but often include access to a free, 24 hour, independent and confidential helpline.
  • There may be a network of in-house Mental Health First Aiders who have undertaken industry standard training to ensure that they have the appropriate tools to help. 
  • Virtual courses with health & wellbeing teams on how to talk about mental health. 
  • This information will be on your organisation’s intranet but if you’re unsure how to access this help - speak to your line manager or reach out to HR.