Fashion + Mental Health 2020

Maintaining Good Mental Health Whilst Working in The Fashion Industry

Why does this industry affect our mental health?

Mental health in the fashion industry is a conflicted subject. Despite the evidence for a relationship between creativity and mental health being inconclusive, many mental health issues in employees across the fashion industry have been reported. 25% of people in the UK suffer with a mental health problem each year, and statistics show that those working in creative industries are 25% more likely to suffer than employees in different industries. 

The fast fashion industry employs people across many job sectors, running from designers to machinists, buyers to models. Brands are required to produce new and more collections each year meaning there is no respite between them, and little time to reflect and recover based on previous collections. Due to this and the requirement to meet industry demands, employees work extremely long hours often with no breaks, resulting in a challenging and stressful environment – this alone is a big contributor to employees’ mental health. The fast pace, long hours, competitive nature and high standards demanded mean that workers may be more vulnerable to poor mental health.

How can someone maintain good mental health in the fashion industry?

Reach out and ask for help!

We are seeing more and more people talking about their mental health, which is very positive

Carolyn Mair, Fashion Psychologist

Despite fashion psychologist Carolyn Mair recognising the slight increase in people speaking out regarding mental health, there is still a stigma around mental illness in the fashion industry and very few sufferers with mental health issues are willing to discuss their problems. This in turn makes it harder for companies to provide support. Readily opening up discussions about mental health is a crucial step in helping sufferers overcome their problems. Employees need to know they can reach out for help, whether this be in the workplace or other organisations such as Mind, which are set up to provide help and support for people in these situations. There is nothing weak about asking for help and the alternative is that you suffer alone which is not a good place to be. No job is more important than your mental well being.

Take a break from your phone

One of the best things that you can do for your mental well being is spend less time on your mobile phone. Even if it is just for a couple of hours a day, take some time out. Smart phones have become an integral part of our lives, but we should not let them take over. The ringing, notifications and reminders will only increase stress levels. Not only will it be difficult to get a good night’s rest, but you may also experience symptoms of depression. Constantly scrolling on social media is not good for the nerves and it can leave you feeling inadequate. When we see that others are happy and their lives are amazing, we start feeling envious and develop a feeling of insecurity. Using your phone only for basic functions can stop these feelings from overtaking. If it is possible, having a break from your mobile phone for some time will benefit your mental health.

Dress to impress

Do this by choosing your outfit for every day the night before. Our wardrobe is a coping mechanism and it’s one that really helps, so this step can reduce stress levels and make you feel more confident and more relaxed. What a person wears can make a huge difference not just on how they’re perceived by others – but more important, on how they feel about themselves. When you feel comfortable and confident, you feel happier in general. Feeling confident and happy impacts your business and your personal life. The positive feelings can come from something as simple as how you dress and go out into the world. Dressing up can take extra effort, but it also feels good, especially if you receive extra compliments. A new study suggests what many women have experienced, and dressing in nicer clothes makes them feel better.

Reflecting on this, fashion is a fast paced field to work in, so employers need to encourage staff and ensure they are taking the time to care for their mental health, as well as their physical well being. Looking after employees’ mental health not only leads to a happier workforce, but it is economically beneficial in the long run too.

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