Liz Brooks on Communication and Mental Health Awareness

Communication is key and it is essential to remember that it’s ok to not be ok as ROKiT Venturi Racing’s Director of Strategic Communications, Liz Brooks, explains in observance of Mental Health Awareness Month in 2022.

“In motorsport, the stakes are extremely high and working in such a high-pressure environment can be very stressful,” says Liz.

“In Formula E, the working hours are long, we work across different time zones and with limited resources and this can mean that we’re stretched thin. No one is ever just doing one job, we’re all multi-tasking.

“This can have a detrimental effect on your mental health and that is why it is so important to be conscious and aware of your needs.

“I’m a people-pleaser by default and it’s in my nature to always try to over-deliver – I go the extra mile to ensure that we’re constantly challenging our rivals from a communications perspective.

“I’ve been doing this job for a long time and this means that I’ve seen it all, nothing shocks or surprises me and this definitely helps me to maintain a calm approach but that doesn’t mean that I’m immune to pressure. I feel it too and honestly, sometimes, pressure can be good. Depending on your personality type, pressure can actually be positive, it can help you to push yourself, but too much pressure can be dangerous.

“When it comes to my mental health, I’m very self-aware and although I’m very tenacious, I know when I need to take a step back.

“It’s important to be disciplined and to take time out for yourself. It’s important to know that the world isn’t going to crumble just because you’re taking a week off.”

For Liz, knowing when to pause is a matter of discipline and can be pinpointed to clear-cut, open, honest communication with colleagues, friends and family.

“Knowing when to take a step back comes down to being firm with yourself and setting clear boundaries. For me, my son is my discipline and I’m very unapologetic about the fact that he will always be my number one priority. Being a mother is the most important job I’m ever going to do.

“If you’re smashing it at work but you feel like you’re failing as a parent because you’re not present enough or you’re over-consumed with work, that’s going to have an impact on your mental health and on your overall quality of life. Knowing what your needs are and how they change is important and you need to have the confidence to speak up about that.

“We’re very lucky at ROKiT Venturi Racing because we have parents in our senior management team. They understand what it takes to raise a young child and work at the same time and they are very accommodating.

“A lot of people in motorsport stay in motorsport forever. Not necessarily because of the perks or the passion to compete but because they themselves have been defined by that.

“But you are not just your job – your job is only apart of your life and your life is so much more important than any single element. You need to keep that in perspective.”

Establishing a safe space and inclusive culture to talk is only one part of raising awareness around mental health but is, nevertheless, a key step to embracing emotions and acknowledging every pressure and fear.

“We’re all human and we all struggle from time to time. We feel pain, we feel stress and we feel anxiety but emotions aren’t something to be afraid of,” continues Liz.

“Although you have to be brave to communicate, no fear should ever come from talking about mental health. It’s ok to not be ok and to say that you’re not ok.

“This is something that we try to address as a team. It’s ok to be human, it’s ok to be real and we’re all in this together. We’re a family and we look after each other.

“The biggest killer of men aged under 50 is suicide, a truly silent killer, and that stems from mental health and feeling unable to talk.

“It makes you realise how essential it is to look after our mental health and how essential it is to create a dynamic where people feel open and able to talk about the things that they’re struggling with.

“I think this is something that we can never take for granted and it’s an area that will always be a work in progress across the world.”