Championing Mental Health: A New Norm for the PR Industry

The year is 2021 – PR professionals have lived through a global pandemic and have helped businesses across industries navigate a challenging year that was anything but ‘business as usual.’ However, operating in overdrive is not sustainable 24/7: COVID-19 has pushed PR pros to the limit. 

The good news? The true value of a work/life balance has finally been realized. It’s no longer a “work perk.” Employers are reading the writing on the wall and mental health offerings and support is no longer a nice-to-have or a checked box for HR departments. Mental health and promoting self-care has become a necessity to retain top talent and many employers are giving back to their employees – closing for Mental Health Awareness Day (May 28) and/or giving employees an extra day of PTO to use as they see fit for employee appreciation. Employees are also becoming more confident in taking the time they need to prioritize their mental health: Burrelles found that 72% of PR professionals who took time off work for their mental health were honest with their employer about their reasons for taking leave, compared to 40% last year. Now more than ever, it’s important for agencies all sizes to take a proactive, authentic, human-first approach – protecting employees from burnout before they’re burnt out. 

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month (May), below please find a list of resources for you to consider as you prioritize your own mental health this month and in the months to follow:

  • Speak to a professional – Connecting with a therapist can be a great option for navigating the stressors of everyday life. Employers realize that work stress can be tied with other stressors outside of work. Taking care of yourself is a priority and seeing a professional for your mind should be just as important as seeing a provider for a broken bone. 
  • A calm space to think – Potentially inspired by “mother’s rooms,” many employers offer a calm, neutral space with a calming aesthetic to just breathe. If you’re still working from home, try setting up a designated area of your house, away from distractions and Slack pings to simply be.
  • Mental health & wellness apps – There are many free wellness and meditation apps that you can take advantage of to take a break. My personal favorite is Insight Timer – housing over 80,000 free guided meditations at your fingertips. 
  • Wellness benefits – Speak to your HR department about wellness reimbursements, programs to connect with a therapist on-demand or any other mental health or wellness benefits that you might not be aware of that are covered through your employer-sponsored health insurance. You might be able to be reimbursed for that self-care day at the spa!

We work in client-services, but remember that YOU matter and your mental health matters.

 

This blog post was written by Abbey Clark, PR Club board member and media manager at PAN Communications.

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