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A Crack in the Industry

Seven Event Professionals Share Their Thoughts on Mental Health & Substance Abuse in the Event Industry

Editor’s note: For some, this may be a very difficult piece to read. I encourage you to do it anyway. The people who have shared their truth in this article should be respected for their courage in stepping forward. When people share stories like these, it’s powerful stuff.

Should you find yourself struggling with no one to turn to, I would suggest either calling the National Alliance on Mental Illness at 800-950-6264 from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, or in a crisis, text NAMI to 741741 for 24/7 confidential free crisis counseling.

Finally, many of these brave individuals will be at Catersource + The Special Event in May, offering an open dialogue session to discuss how we can support and uplift each other as an industry. A Candid Conversation LIVE on Mental Illness in the Event Industry is open to all attendees who hold education passes for either show. See sidebar for more details.

Behind the enchanting, noisy, multicolored, sometimes chemically enhanced, and wonderful world of events that we all love…is us—the people who make it all happen. We are dedicated, creative, endlessly energetic, and creative visionaries who work tirelessly to make all the glamour look effortless. We are proud of our work and love the feeling of utter exhaustion and mind-numbing fatigue that we experience as we eat fast food at three a.m. on the drive home. Our families and companions are hours into sleep; our pets notice us with sleepy eyes as we enter the darkness of our homes. We turn on the television to decompress, and then try to follow the rest of the house into slumber until we must wake up and start another day.

A Candid Conversation LIVE on Mental Illness in the Event Industry
Wednesday, May 5
1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.  


This powerful panel of industry professionals will discuss their own paths and solutions, and take questions and comments from the audience. This session will be presented as a “Bridge” session, meaning it will be available with all conference education passes. Visit or for all the details. 

This kind of work is gratifying and oddly satisfying in a way that traditional 9-to-5 jobs are not. But at what price do these strange hours and unpredictable highs and lows come to us, and how do we create meaningful personal and professional lives that exist in a healthy space together when the schedules of those we love are so drastically different? This type of life can leave one feeling a bit like an outsider. Loneliness and a feeling of isolation can settle in early on and can lead over time to unhealthy behaviors that ultimately need to be addressed.

How do we maintain these levels of highs and lows and learn to self-correct and maintain some semblance of sanity as we move through life? Can we successfully support each other in this way? Do we support each other enough? Or does the time we devote to keeping each other in check shine a light on insecurities of our own that we would rather not examine?

Here, seven industry professionals will examine these questions based on their own experiences.

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