Self care in the workplace

Before retraining and setting up The Mind Tribe I spent 20 years working in the PR industry.  During that time, I was fortunate to work with some fantastic agencies with very talented people and amazing clients. 

Last week the PRCA released some startling figures around mental health in the industry.  Some of the results included:

·         59% of PR and communications practitioners said they had suffered from mental ill health

·         50% of employees said they felt more stressed than 12 months ago 

·         Most disturbing was 90% of employers said they had no formal health policy

I’m not surprised by the findings of the PRCA.  To say at times, I felt stressed working in the industry is an understatement, I constantly felt under pressure juggling lots of balls and I’m not your typical office ‘stress head’ who might snap or bubble over.  Instead my stress manifested itself as severe eczema, an upset stomach and I regularly struggled to sleep at night. 

I don’t think I am unusual and I certainly don’t think stress is unique to the PR industry, it’s everywhere due to the frantic modern lives we all live.  At the time I blamed stress on my workload and the job but now looking back I realise the buck stopped with me.  I was the cause of my stress manifesting and creating that anxiety.  Now don’t get me wrong I’m not belittling stress or any kind of mental illness, there are several factors that contribute to any kind of mental ill health but looking back now I truly believe that if I had been equipped with the right tools and advice I could have prevented some of the anxiety I felt.  I also want to add that all the companies I worked with had brilliant HR teams and my personal development and training was second to none but what was probably missing was a formal wellbeing programme and this is probably down to the fact that until recently mental ill health has been overlooked by some employers. 

I no longer work in PR and have retrained as a consultant working with businesses on their wellbeing strategy.

It’s key that all businesses in every industry support their staff when it comes to mental ill health but most importantly equip the staff with the tools and techniques that build resilience and help them look after themselves when the ‘tough stuff’ hits.

Alex Glennie