How to stay mentally healthy if you work in comms

Tomorrow is World Mental Health Day, it’s an incredibly important topic and one we need to break the taboo of.

I have a guest post for you today offering advice for staying mentally healthy if you work in comms.

Mental health and illness is deeply personal and all-consuming.

It’s ok to ask for help. You deserve it and owe it to yourself.

If you know someone who is going through a difficult time, I recommend checking out The Blurt Foundation and particularly their Buddy Boxes.

There’s always a good time to talk about mental health. Not just tomorrow.

You can follow conversations via Twitter #WorldMentalHealthDay and @mentalhealth.


Maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to write about what I’ve been experiencing over the past two years. That time isn’t here yet.

But I’m not alone:

34% of UK PR professionals have been diagnosed with or experienced some form of mental ill health ( PRCA, 2015)

There are some excellent resources available to help. The World Mental Health Day website is worth a read.

Further reading:
I wrote about World Mental Health Day in 2015.
Discover the first counselling service for comms pros

February 2017 update: Today is #TimetoTalk day. Find out more.

alistairbeechI’m going to hand you over to Alistair Beech, @alistairbeech, Senior Digital Communications Officer at the University of Central Lancashire.

Today he wrote a post on LinkedIn and he’s kindly agreed to let me re-blog it below.

Over to you Alistair…

How to stay healthy if you work in digital communications


34% of UK PR professionals have been diagnosed with or experienced some form of mental ill-health.

34%. That’s almost 10% above the national figure of 25% (or 1 in 4) people who will experience a mental health problem each year.

Public relations and communications roles often rank highly in ‘stress’ tables alongside physically demanding vocations like fire fighters and police officers.

The 24/7, ‘always on’ nature of digital media, tight deadlines and expectations from clients (internal and external) often leave professionals reeling from long working hours and subsequent stresses.

Presenteeism (working over and above your allocated hours) is common, especially in agencies.

In some environments, working unpaid overtime is celebrated.

Surely it’s time this mentality is challenged?

Monday 10 October 2016 is World Mental Health Day. Here are three top tips for digital communicators to build good routines around your work and maintain a healthy mind and level of productivity.

1. Get organised

Feelings of drowning under work tasks and lack of control often leads to anxiety and stresses.

Take five minutes each morning to write a To Do list, prioritising tasks in order of importance and deadline.

Will a task take less than two minutes? Do it now.

I use a mix of apps such as Trello and calendars in Google and Outlook to keep on top of tasks and content plans. Trello is fantastic for allocating tasks across teams, especially if members work remotely.

2. Keep talking

Probably the most important thing to do if you’re feeling stressed. Working in digital comms can sometimes feel like a lonely furrow.

Keep talking to people around you, whether that’s your line manager, team members, clients or even peers.

Sharing problems will unload them from your mind and could help solve them. Get things off your chest and don’t let worries fester. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to colleagues, try internal support networks supported by your HR department.

3. Unplug now and then, get off the grid

When taking holidays, leave work in the office and disable work mobile apps. Be available for voice calls or text in case of emergency but leave the app notifications behind.

If you’re a Social Media Manager, use Hootsuite to schedule content when you’re away and ensure you arrange monitoring cover with skilled up colleagues.

Turn off Facebook Page Manager or Twitter notifications for your work channels so you’re not tempted to dive in to a conversation. Your team has it covered! 

World Mental Health Day is celebrated on Monday 10 October 2016. This post was inspired by Paul Sutton’s article ‘Addressing the PR Mental Health Epidemic’.

Post author: Alistair Beech.

Picture credit: Marc Maron.

Thank you Alistair.

I hope you find this article helpful. Do keep an eye on the World Mental Health Day website for resources, or on Twitter @mentalhealth.

Rachel Miller.

Published on the All Things IC blog 9 October 2016.


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