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A discussion about mental health in PR, with James Endersby and Jane Fordham on the PRmoment podcast

This week, on the PRmoment podcast, we’re talking about mental health in PR.

On the show we’ve got James Endersby, chief executive of Opinium, and Jane Fordham, who spent 20 years working in PR agencies before launching her eponymous consultancy in 2018 specialising in people, culture and diversity.

Opinium has recently published a Mental Health and Wellbeing report in conjunction with the PRCA. One of the headlines coming out of the report says, and I quote: “that 62% of UK workers have struggled with their mental health in the last 12 months, and over four fifths (89%) of PR professionals surveyed say they have struggled with their mental wellbeing.”

Here’s a flavour of what we discussed:

[00:02:09] How 89% of participants in a survey of 500 PR people found that they have struggled with their mental well-being in the last 12 months.

[00:02:25] Why workload is the top source of stress in PR.

[00:02:30] How workload is also the top reason why people don't take time off.

[00:05:26] How many of the things that attract people to public relations as a career – the fast pace, multi-tasking, the client-led environment, the always-on technology – are the same things which can impact people's mental health.

[00:07:27] We compare the difference in UK Government mental health stats, Mind's mental health stats and the PRCA/Opinium mental health stats and ask why there is such a big difference.

[00:09:22] A discussion on the definition of stress.

[00:09:26] Why stress is not necessarily a negative thing, but too much stress or sustained stress is.

[00:10:20] Does PR has a problem with stress or does society has a problem with stress?

[00:12:32] James Endersy talks about how Opinium has partnered with Warwick University Medical School on this research to create a "clinically proven method" to establish a participant's wellbeing.

[00:14:17] Whether people are aware that they're suffering from mental health issues.

[00:15:03]James Endersby talk us through the most common causes of poor mental wellbeing at work.

[00:16:08] To what extent does age and seniority impact on mental wellbeing?

[00:17:03] Why we need to reposition the mental health conversation more positively.

[00:21:08] Why the quality of the leadership and the culture of the organisation has a massive impact on the mental health of employees within the organisation.

[00:22:58] How the brain is 32% more productive when it's positive or neutral than when it is negative.

[00:24:25] How do PR employees tend to respond to stress at work?

[00:25:30] Why we all have a stress bucket – it just a matter of how full our bucket is.

[00:29:49] Jane's Fordham’s three wishes to improve PR's metal health.

[00:30:56] How leaders can create a culture to help improve their employees’ mental wellbeing.

[00:32:13] To what extent is mental wellbeing the employer’s responsibility and to what extent is it an individual's responsibility?

[00:36:21] Why the wellbeing of your staff is a performance enabler.

[00:37:39] Why the way many PR firms are running themselves is counterproductive.

[00:39:02] Jane talks about the PRCA Mental Health Toolkit.

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