Mental health in the Fairground industry

Wednesday, 19 October 2022

This September marked the second World Fun Fair Month. Started in 2021 by campaign group Future4fairgrounds, World Fun Fair Month celebrates not just the fairground industry but the cultural heritage of Showmen around the world. It aims to raise positive awareness of Showmen.

In celebration, EPIC Assist Charity Scotland (EPIC) and the Showmen’s Mental Health Awareness Charity (SMHAC) livestreamed one of our bespoke Mental Health Awareness trainings over Facebook. This was the 12th mental health awareness training co-designed and delivered through EPIC’s ongoing partnership with the SMHAC. So far, these workshops have reached over a hundred people.

Run by people from the Showmen and Fairground community, SMHAC aims to remove the stigma around mental health within the community by providing information, education, and support, and improving access to mental health services.

While statistics around mental health amongst Showmen do not yet exist, studies suggest people from Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller communities experience anxiety and depression at a higher rate than the wider UK population. Further, 11% of Traveller deaths can be attributed to suicide, 6.6 times the suicide rate amongst non-Travellers. These findings underscore the importance of mental health awareness and education.

The workshop created a space to discuss mental health within the Fairground Industry. Topics ranged from how to recognise the signs both ourselves and those around us might be struggling, simple steps we can take to improve wellbeing, how to generate empathy towards and understanding of one another, and how to support other people while looking after our own mental health.

Space was made for attendees to share their own experiences, enabling insightful discussion around the importance of open conversation around mental health.

EPIC will continue encouraging these conversations alongside SMHAC through monthly mental health awareness workshops.

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