Beyond the Desk: Prioritising Mental Health in PR

4 weeks ago

By Jack Snell, Mental Health Workplace Responder at Skout PR

In today’s fast-paced industry and marketing and PR, where deadlines are tight and client expectations are high, prioritising mental health in the workplace has never been so important. 

Statistics by CIPR and PRCA from their 2022 survey found that those working within PR are significantly less likely to take time off work due to poor mental health when compared to other UK professionals.

Specifically, 22% of PR practitioners who experienced mental health issues had take time off from work in the last year, which is particularly low, when compared to the national average of 41% across all professional industries.

With an increasing number of agencies and businesses implementing mental health policies and employee wellbeing benefits, it can be hard to recognise what policies are impactful and what aren’t. They key question to ask is, are we doing enough to prioritise mental health in our industry?

Understanding the importance of mental health in marketing and PR 

As marketing and PR professionals, we often deal with high client expectations, navigate potentially high-stakes situations, and even manage crises from time to time. The dynamic and challenging nature of the industry can take a toll on your mental health if not managed correctly.

  • Educating teams and employees on spotting the signs of mental health issues such as stress or burnout including a recent lack of optimism or feeling overwhelmed with their workload, is a great first step in getting people the help they need and encourages a much more positive workplace.

Recognising the signs and symptoms is important, but so is overcoming the stigma regularly associated with mental health issues. Creating an open and accepting atmosphere can help encourage employees to speak up about their mental health challenges, whether that’s to a friend, a colleague, or a member of a mental health team. Even simply educating your team with an awareness campaign is a great way to help people relate and understand, and you can supplement with workshops and training sessions to help educate too.

Do our benefits really have any benefit?

If you look at any job advert for a marketing and PR agency or any business in fact, the perks and benefits are always shouted about the loudest, but whilst a free fruit bowl or ‘Pizza Friday’s’, are lovely, the true measure of wellbeing benefits lie in their effectiveness.

While such perks are undoubtable appreciated, they should not be in place instead of a more substantial wellbeing benefits programme.

  • Introducing benefits such as flexible working policies are a great way to support employee’s mental health. Offering options like remote working and the ability to work flexibly around your own life allows for a much better work/life balance, helping to remove the stresses related to commuting, childcare or other personal commitments. 

Employee assistance programmes can also make a real difference to somebodies’ wellbeing. Dental plans or reduced medical bills help to take away the pressure of financing those sometimes-expensive procedures, or even giving employees access to a mental health professional can make a huge difference.

Promoting a culture of care

Open and transparent communication forms the cornerstone of a compassionate workplace culture. Regular check-ins between team members, even informally, provides a great opportunity to discuss workloads, concerns and potential challenges. With the end result being that they feel supported and listened to, and some form of a resolution identified to manage their concerns.

  • Prioritising mental health in marketing and PR agencies is not only beneficial for the morale of the team, but also a strategic investment in the success of the business.

As the industry continues to evolve, a steadfast focus on mental health will undoubtable be a key differentiator in where employees thrive, both personally and professionally. By championing mental health and wellbeing, organisations pave the way for sustained productivity, creativity, and overall success in an increasingly competitive market.

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