Recent stats from the PRCA revealed that 36% of people in PR have suffered or been diagnosed with poor mental health.
To be honest, I thought this would be higher, and with nearly one in seven people experiencing mental health problems in the workplace and twice as many women as men, it something that as an industry we need to take note of.
On a personal level, I never thought I would be someone who suffered from mental health. I spent years working hard, playing harder, travelling around the world and enjoying everything that both an incredible career in PR and a fast paced life in London can offer.
However, a year and a half ago, my life changed. A combination of a busy work environment, complex personal life and bouts of ill health forced me to sit up and take note of my mental health.
So as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, here are a few things that helped me:
1. Don’t suffer in silence
When dealing with any form of mental health challenge, from loneliness to anxiety, stress or full blown depression, remember that you are never alone.
While it’s often the hardest thing to do, it’s important to talk about how you’re feeling and seek help. Whether it’s a best friend, family member, work colleague, gym buddy, support group or the wonderful people at the Samaritans, there is no shame in talking about your feelings and you will often find that more than one person can relate and you can help support each other.
2. Stress relief — find what works for you
Life can be hard, work can be stressful and as a generation we are the most stressed we have ever been. But there are so many ways to combat this and finding an outlet to relieve stress, that works for you, can help bring balance and help with mental health.
From mindfulness to power walking, yoga classes, spinning or my favourite, listening to a Desert Island Disc podcast — Nile Rodgers and Tom Kerridge are my personal recommendations — find the best way to help you switch off, shake off the day and relax.
3. It’s ok to not be ok
While over the last year we’ve seen mental health discussions take a new turn, there is a still a stigmatism around talking about these issues across the creative industries. However, I really believe that we need to champion the phrase, ‘it’s ok to not be ok’.
We need to support each other and spearhead more mental health initiatives. We must demand change, be kind to ourselves and others, create balance and importantly, be open about mental health as a part of our industry.
In doing so, I truly believe we can make sure that we are supporting the 36% that have been brave enough to come forward, breaking the stigma for those suffering in silence and creating an industry that has mental health at its heart.