15 platforms to support your mental health as a creative person
Putting yourself out there creatively can feel vulnerable in a way that might not exist in other types of work. Here, we’ve compiled some mental health and self-care resources, all specifically geared towards the common needs and challenges that crop up in creative life and work – from online platforms and podcasts to counselling sessions, calming apps, IRL spaces and instant text support services.
Despite its unbeatable and satisfying highs, a life in the creative industries can take a sturdy and steely person to navigate its challenges, whether that’s overcoming imposter syndrome, dealing with rejection, erratic income or burnout.
In fact, according to Mind, at least one in six workers, in general, experience mental health problems like anxiety and depression – and that’s without some of the added stresses that creative work can bring.
Looking after your mental wellbeing is essential, no matter what stage you’re at in your career. Which is why, below, we’ve put together a range of resources offering support with everything from stress management, to self-motivation and much more.
Good for: Stress and pressure management for those working in the advertising and media industries
NABS is the advertising and media industry’s wellbeing charity. It includes a confidential advice hotline, with unbiased advisors on hand to help with a full breadth of queries including contractual questions, money management, discrimination as well as anxiety.
There is also the NABS Resilience Programme, designed to help employees feeling the overwhelm. As the site states, “alongside tips found in the Little Guide to Managing Pressure, it offers talks, stress coaching, therapy and bespoke masterclasses to help build resilience to workplace pressure – plus tailored services to help make the bad days better.”
Visit NABS here
2. Ethel’s Club
Good for: POC creatives, providing creative inspiration and support
Ethel’s Club is an immersive wellness platform centring people of colour, by people of colour. This digital (and sometimes physical) club is designed to have healing, creative inspiration and communal care at its core. It features a digital journal, also profiled over info graphics on the Instagram profile, on topics such as support with seasonal affective disorder, nurturing the creative practice and mindfulness through food. There’s also online meet-ups with influencers and creators speaking about business growth while slowing down and keeping your passions in mind.
Visit Ethel’s Club
3. Side Hustler’s Perspective Podcast
Good for: Lifestyle tips, wellbeing, freelancing
If you’re looking for solidarity as well as advice on finding the balance or ‘healthy hustling’ around freelance jobs and life, designer, artist and coach Scotty Rustle’s podcast is “fuel for your mind and creative grind”. Featuring industry leading guests as well as new graduates, Scotty delivers punchy but encouraging episodes with a view to honing you mindset, motivation and marketing.
There are plenty of informative half-hour and hour-long chunks on finding your style, paying off debts, coping with uncertainty, landing dream clients, finding community, valuing yourself and overcoming doubt.
Listen to the Perspective Podcast
4. Self Space
Good for: Therapy services and events
Price: £60 and up
Founded by therapist and executive coach Jodie Cariss, to supply accessible, contemporary mental health support. A fresh outlook on destigmatising mental health issues and empowering both individuals and workplaces with the tools to foster emotionally articulate, compassionate cultures and conversations. This is through one-on-one therapy services as well as workshops, events, retreats and HR training.
Self Space’s diverse range of professionals include arts psychotherapists and coaches, specialising in many areas from struggles with neurodivergence, identity to disordered eating and managing low self-esteem using CBT methods.
Visit Self Space
5. The Monday Morning Club
Good for: Time management, self-motivation and freelance tips
An East London-based social enterprise, set up by designer Adam Ellison, to create a sense of community that nurtures self-motivation and empowerment amongst what can often be a lonely freelance world. The MMC is a free resource that shares modern and practical ways to manage time, stay productive and inspired. There’s a monthly ‘Power Email’ with support and advice written by special guests such as the creative director of The Guardian, career coaches, designers and art directors.
6. The Calm App
Good for: Anxiety management, better sleep and relaxation
Price: £12.99 a month
A hugely popular and award-winning app with a focus on relaxation, anxiety management, and improving sleep quality, something which can take a hit with a creative mind and a freelance lifestyle. As well as guided mediation and mindful stretching exercises to ease you in and out of your day, it also offers sleep-promoting stories and soothing sounds. These are geared to helping you switch off and are read by the likes of Stephen Fry, Leona Lewis and Matthew McConaughey.
7. The Headspace App
Good for: Meditation and better thinking
Price: £4.17 a month
This renowned app offers over 500 different meditations. Its offering is based on studies showing the various types of practice that can help with both divergent thinking – a style of thinking that allows many new ideas to be generated – and convergent thinking, which tends to support the process of generating possible solutions to a particular problem.
As well as generally balancing the mind to promote clarity and reduce stress, Headspace also has eight guided meditation courses or quick one-off exercises, designed to combat distraction and kick-start creative writing and design.
Good for: Student and employee support for preventing burnout and promoting self-confidence
Price: Free access if your place of work or study has subscribed
Fika is a mental-health fitness platform and app that believes it’s as important to train for mental health challenges as it is for physical ones. Fika applies this idea of keeping your mind in good shape not only for individuals, but also workplace culture, by providing courses and training for companies.
The courses involve preventative measures to reduce the risk of burnout and increase productivity and engagement from the point of view of collective responsibility. You can track your progress individually with the app too.
Join the Fika community and book a demo
Good for: Crisis management, text support, conversation
A free, confidential, 24/7 text messaging support service for anyone going through a moment when you need to reach out. Send a text saying “LET IT OUT” to 85258 and you will be connected to trained volunteer over text, within around five minutes. They will then be able to send you resources and signpost to further support.
This may be all you need, but conversations are also overseen by trained supervisors who can escalate support via a direct line if deemed at imminent risk.
10. The Glass House
Good for: LGBTQIA+ community, providing IRL events and workshops
Price: Free and chargeable, starting from £5
This dynamic, multidisciplinary LGBTQIA+ venue is, as their tag line states, a hub for queer creatives and community to thrive. Based on Bethnal Green Road in East London, there’s a coffee and bookshop, common room, bar and whole host of community building activities, if real-life connection and a chance to unwind in a safe space is what you’re looking for.
Run by a diverse and representative team, they also host writing circles, a book club, life drawing sessions, discussion panels, open mics and wellness events.
Visit Glass House
Good for: Journalling, mood tracking, CBT
Price: £32.41 year subscription with a free week trial available
A mood journal app to help understand what brings your mood up and down, as well as offering a tool set to reinforce positive messages on gratitude, self-care and setting personalised, achievable daily goals. It’s based around processing distorted thinking and CBT methods to change up those individual brain pathways to go towards the positive.
Users receive empowering affirmations every day and there’s structured breathing and mindfulness exercises, and trackers on everything from hydration to friend interactions to assess how this intersects with your mood.
12. The Association of Illustrators (AOI)
Good for: Wellbeing techniques and support for creative illustrators, including shifting creative block
The AOI, in partnership with Society of Authors and Association of Photographers has released a resource around good mental health and creative freelancers. It offers a really comprehensive look at why this is so pertinent for people working in this sector, including writers, illustrators, photographers, animators and the support that is out there. It suggests practical strategies and tips if you are concerned that your wellbeing is falling down the priority list, as well as signposting to relevant organisations for each issue.
Access the AOI document
Good for: LGBTQIA+ community, providing counselling, conversation
Price: Online chat and forums are free with counselling requiring a low cost payment based on your income
MindOut is a Brighton-based award-winning mental health service run by and for the LGBTQIA+ community. They have a broad and inclusive perspective on who falls under this bracket and they also hold peer support groups, one specifically tailored to POC, people under 30 and “people juggling work with their mental well being”. In addition, MindOut offers a IRL one-to-one counselling service if you are based in Brighton or Hove, and an online support live chat which is confidential, non-judgmental, anonymous and open every day – including bank holidays.
Good for: Self-employed creatives looking for a greater sense of connection
A free and inclusive community-based platform, supporting the mental health of the self employed, Leapers was founded by independent business strategist Matthew Knight, in response to the emotional journey that is being a freelancer.
There’s a 4,000 people-strong Slack group, and options to create ‘teams’ with likeminded people, as well as lots of topical articles and resources. These include a downloadable guide on looking after your happiness and health when self employed and an ebook on how to ‘work well’ when you’re in charge of…well… everything.
15. 7 Cups of Tea
Good for: Therapy and online support, live chat
Founded by psychologist Glen Moriarty, 7 Cups of Tea is a platform which provides online therapy and free support to people by connecting them with trained listeners. Another app designed to foster community and shake off loneliness, the big feature is the 24/7 chat site which connects you anonymously to someone who will listen to what you’re feeling and interact with guidance and conversation.
There are also forums to find and talk with others going through similar issues, as well as check-ins, sharing circles and access to trained counsellors and therapists.
Visit 7 Cups of Tea
Please note that we are not medical professionals, so if you are if you are struggling, we would advise seeking advice from a GP or trained therapist.
If you need to talk to someone urgently, the Mind website lists a a range of helplines and listening services to call, including the Samaritans (116 123, free from any phone, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year) as well as the Befrienders Worldwide tool for those looking for helplines around the world.
If you live in England and need immediate support, you can also call a local NHS helpline at any time.
Written by Rebecca Hoh-Hale