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HCA collaborates on new mental health initiative for communications professionals

A recent report showed over 90% of PR professionals experienced poor mental health in 2022

Mental health illustration

The Healthcare Communications Association (HCA) has collaborated on a new mental health initiative after research revealed that more than 90% of communications professionals experienced poor mental health last year, compared to a 69% average across all other professional sectors in the UK.

The Mental Wellbeing in PR research findings from December 2022 also showed that of those PR professionals experiencing poor mental health in the past year, only 22% took time off work to rest and recover, versus 41% for workers in all other sectors.

“It is perhaps ironic how those who promote good health are themselves susceptible to poor mental health,” said HCA’s chief executive officer, Mike Dixon.

With nearly 60% of the surveyed communications professionals citing overwhelming workload as a key source of stress, the Under the tree training programme is designed to equip communications practitioners with the skills they need to manage work-related pressure and stress.

Along with the HCA, the programme has been developed by integrated communications agency fox&cat, in collaboration with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA).

The programme is set to run for 13 weeks, with free 45-minute online sessions taking place every Wednesday from 22 February to 17 May.

All sessions will centre around the issues highlighted by the mental health audit, focusing on ‘critical connection, team mental health safety, resilience and confidence, solutions-focused thinking, mindfulness and me, and mental health leadership’.

The programme will also include senior leader panel discussions about the industry research findings, the importance of training and a ‘look towards the future’ of mental health in communications.

“Agency, in-house and independent practitioners are frequently having to get through very heavy workloads usually with short deadlines, creating highly pressured working environments,” said Paul Hutchings, founder of fox&cat.

He added: “The insights provided to us by the likes of the CIPR, PRCA and HCA go a long way to helping identify the issues we face as leaders in communications, and our free-to-all Under the tree programme helps translate these insights into meaningful education to improve the skills we all need to better manage mental health when working in communications.”

As well as personal professional development plans, all sessions in the programme can count towards HCA continuous professional development (CPD) certification, the HCA said.

Article by
Emily Kimber

8th February 2023

From: Healthcare



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