The PRCA and PRWeek launched a wide-ranging survey in October 2018 to grasp the industry’s attitudes towards mental health and whether the stigma persists. This repeated a survey launched in 2017, with the number of respondents increasing to 546 – twice as many as in 2017.
The majority of respondents who have suffered from mental ill health cite depression or anxiety as the issue. Furthermore, almost 50% of respondents said they felt under more stress currently compared to 12 months ago.
53% of employees said they felt very comfortable or fairly comfortable talking to their line managers about the state of their mental health. 44% of respondents have spoken to their line managers about their mental health.
Employees feel more comfortable talking to their peers or colleagues about their mental health. 62% of respondents said they feel very or fairly comfortable about speaking to their peers about their mental health, and 59% have actually discussed these issues with their colleagues.
67% of employers said they encouraged their employees to talk to their line managers about their mental health. Furthermore, 81% of employers said that they have discussed these issues with their employees.
Positively, 65% of employees said that their organisation was very or fairy supportive of people suffering from mental health, and 38% said that the support for staff’s mental health has improved in the past two years.
When employers were asked the same question, 90% said that their organisation is very or fairly supportive of people suffering from mental ill health, and 63% said the support for staff’s mental health has improved in the past two years. However, only 72% of employers said they have a formal mental health policy.
Respondents were generally less positive about how accepting the wider industry is of people with mental ill health, as 52% of employees said the industry is not accepting and 42% of employers said the same thing.
In response to the results of the survey, Francis Ingham MPRCA, PRCA Director General said:
“It is time that the industry takes the issue of mental health and employee wellbeing seriously. We know that the fast-paced nature of the PR and communications industry is taking a toll on our employees and this survey highlights this and we can longer ignore this issue.
“I am encouraged by the progress we have made as an industry to destigmatize mental health and making employee wellbeing a priority in the workplace. It is also encouraging to see employers and employees alike are more willing to talk about mental health.
“There are certainly areas where we need to improve. First, we must equip all line managers with the tools to manage the mental health of their employees. Second, we must also look at how we can make the work environment less stressful and make flexible working a priority. Finally, we must be willing to talk about mental health and destigmatize it even further.
“The PRCA will continue to raise awareness about mental health and we will continue to provide the industry with resources to ensure that workplaces are more inclusive of people with mental ill health. This is why we’re constantly updating the PRCA Mental Health Toolkit, and we will work with industry leaders and organisations to ensure that we’re supporting PR and communications practitioners.”
This survey forms part of the PRCA’s ongoing campaign on raising awareness about mental health in the PR and communications industry. If you would like to get involved or find out more information, please contact Neha.Khatwani@prca.org.uk.