Cast and Crew – Looking After Each Other On Tour: Part 2
In “Cast and Crew – Looking After Each Other On Tour: Part 1” we outlined how the pressures and practicalities of touring may increase people’s vulnerability and susceptibility to mental health problems, or exacerbate an existing condition. If you’ve noticed that someone in your cast or crew is not quite their ‘usual self’, act on it and start a conversation.
Here are some tips on starting this conversation:
Begin by mentioning specific things that prompted you to check in:
- “You seem less chatty than usual. How are you?”
- “You don’t seem yourself lately. What’s happening for you at the moment?”
- “We haven’t talked in a while… How are you going?”
- “I’ve heard you’re going through some stuff – I’m here if you want to chat.”
- “I’ve noticed that you’re a bit flat – how are you coping with the tour?”
- “I’m worried about you. Do you want to run anything by me?”
Note it is important to:
- Be relaxed, friendly and concerned in your approach
- Ensure your genuine care and concern for the person leads the conversation – this is not an opportunity for gossip
- Unless you have concerns for the person’s safety or the safety of those around them, ensure confidentiality and privacy
Listen without judgement
Just listen. You don’t have to solve their problems or ‘fix’ anything. Ask open-ended questions:
- “How are you feeling about that?”
- “How long have you felt that way?”
- “How would you like me to support you?”
Use all your best listening skills:
- Repeat back what you’ve heard and ask if you have understood them properly
- It is not always helpful to say “I know exactly how you feel….”. You could share techniques that you use to manage your own mental health, but keep the focus on them, not you
- Take what they say seriously
- Don’t interrupt or rush the conversation
- Sit patiently with silence
- Let them know it’s OK to feel the way they do
- Be a friend – not a therapist
Encouraging someone to seek appropriate professional help is one of the most important things you can do.
- Be positive about the role of professionals in getting through tough times
- If you can, offer practical support – perhaps helping to find an appropriate professional, making a phone call on their behalf, or giving them a lift to an appointment
- Pop a reminder in your phone to check in.
- You could say: “I’ve been thinking of you and wanted to know how you’ve been going.”
- Ask if they’ve found a better way to manage. If they haven’t done anything, don’t judge them.
- Stay in touch and be there for them. Genuine care and concern can make a real difference.