8 in 10 PR professionals report to feeling mental health impact of Covid-19

The recognition of the positive value of public relations stands in contrast to a marked depreciation in the mental health and well-being of individuals employed in communications roles during the crisis, a new survey has found.

The CIPR’s Health Group COVID-19 survey explores the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on communications professionals and included questions around the value of communications, the impact of COVID-19 on individuals and on teams, pandemic preparedness and resources, and internal communications.

The survey finds:

  • Over half of respondents reported their organisation placed ‘a lot’ of value on communications during the emergency
  • 82% of respondents answered ‘yes’ to feeling a mental health impact of the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Nearly 50% had worked longer hours with one-third of practitioners working an extra 1-2 hours per day and over 15% working five or more extra hours a day
  • 28% had not taken any annual leave
  • Less than a quarter had accessed mental health support in the last six months

The effort and commitment of professionals working within and across healthcare over the last few months has been outstanding. Many people have made huge personal sacrifices in relation to not being able to see vulnerable family members to ensure they have been available in their frontline roles. Others have had to deal with the challenges of bereavement or family members being diagnosed with illness and not being able to get care and treatment in the usual way or delays in treatment. Perhaps surprisingly for our sector, many individuals were affected as they were furloughed or grappled with maintaining their business, as project work was hugely affected and not to mention the pleasure and stress of homeschooling.

I have been astounded by the excellence in professional practice that I have observed over the last few months – however, we must now make sure we look after our healthcare comms community and their wellbeing. Check in on your colleagues, take a break and be kind to yourself.

Rachel Royall Chart.PR FCIPR, Chair of CIPR Health

The issue of practitioner’s mental health was highlighted as an issue in the CIPR ‘State of the Profession’ survey 2019, where more than a fifth (21%) of respondents said they had a diagnosed mental health condition and around a quarter (23%) of practitioners saying they took sickness absence from work on the grounds of stress, anxiety or depression.

CIPR members have free access to the iprovision Mental Health Hotline providing members instant access to accredited counsellors as well as support for those with personal, legal and financial difficulties.

  • Download the full survey results and other CIPR mental health resources including ‘Understanding Mental Health and Wellbeing’ and ‘Managing Your Mental Health at a Time of Crisis’ here.

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