Mental Health for Creative Freelancers

Free Resource

The AOI, in partnership with Society of Authors and Association of Photographers has released an updated version of a resource around mental health and creative freelancers.

You can download it here: Mental health and Creative Freelancers

At the AOI, we’re not mental health professionals, but we are here to support our members. We can help members make sure that their terms and conditions and contracts are robust, safeguard their legal rights and reduce exploitation across the industry.  Having control of your business and managing your finances can be an important first step for many.

Here, we’ve put together the details of places you can turn to for help if you are struggling with your mental health.

Urgent Help

Emergency Services:

If you’re experiencing a mental health crisis and feel you’re at risk of harming yourself, please call 999 or go to your nearest A&E.

Or, if you don’t feel in immediate danger but would like to talk about your circumstances with someone who is trained to listen, try:


24 hrs a day, 365 days per year.

116 123 (UK)

116 123 (ROI)

You do not have to be suicidal to call the Samaritans.

Sane Helpline

0300 304 7000, 16.30-22.30 daily.

Also via text and online in the Support Forum.


Listening service specifically for students. Phone number varies dependent on location.

Shout Crisis Support – 85258

This free 24/7 UK text service is for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. Text SHOUT to 85258 for immediate support. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help. Shout is powered by a team of volunteers, who are at the heart of the service.

Resources and information

Your GP

If you’re struggling with your mental health, your GP can help. They are your first port of call for access to the services that the NHS has to offer, and can often also give you less formal information about the support available in your local area.

Good Thinking

Targeted for London services, but relevant UK-wide, this site signposts tools and resources tailored to your needs.


ArtsMinds is a resource and information site. It does not take enquiries about individual matters but there’s lots of good information specifically tailored for those working in the creative industries.


Lots of useful information & tips for everyday living, as well as information on where to turn in a crisis.

Info line – 0300 123 3393

Mind also runs a supportive online community called Elefriends, which is a safe space to listen, share and be heard.

Anxiety UK

08444 775 774

SMS: 07537 416 905

If you’re looking into seeking professional support, always make sure you book with a registered, qualified counsellor. They are listed here.

CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably)

A leading movement against suicide, focussing on men in particular.  They run a helpline and webchat, and have resources.

Heads Together Campaign

Mental health initiative with tools and resources for particular areas such as workplace health.

Rethink Mental Illness

Help and support for anyone suffering with mental health or their families.

Mental Health Europe

Large resource networking mental health users, professionals and service providers across Europe.

Rehab 4 Addiction Coronavirus

This is a focussed resource looking at the challenges the pandemic has opened. Rehab 4 Addiction is an advisory and referral service for people who suffer from alcohol, drug and behavioural addiction.

Practical information and help

The AOI helpline and resources are there to help illustrators with practical business needs such as understanding contracts, negotiation and self promotion.

The Citizens Advice Bureau offers advice free of charge on a broad range of issues, including debt and housing.

The AOI would like to make resources accessible to all members. If you would like an alternative format please ask.


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