Mental health has been under the radar for far too long as many suffered in silence. The pandemic drove much needed change and mental health is gaining recognition as an important part of our overall well-being. Given the unique pressures of the public relations industry, especially for those running their own business, this new era of transparency is welcomed.
In a recent episode of the That Solo Life podcast, we discussed the mental health concerns faced by PR professionals. PR professionals manage competing demands, protect reputations, and manage multiple details that others never notice. Yet many professional communicators find it challenging to articulate personal struggles related to mental well-being. A telling data point comes from a PR News poll, which highlighted that 68% of PR employees do not feel at ease discussing their mental health challenges in their workplace. This statistic underscores the pressing need for change in the industry's approach to well-being.
In the US we have cultivated a work ethic that borders on toxic in its relentless pursuit of success by any means. For high performers like PR professionals that pressure is internalized resulting in us ignoring personal struggles for the sake of getting the job done. We “buck up” and get it done but at a cost that no one should have to pay. It is time to rectify the misconception that vulnerability equates to professional inadequacy.
As business owners we have an opportunity to lead the way forward. By changing our own attitudes about mental health, we can demonstrate to clients, colleagues and the next generation of entrepreneurs that our struggles do not make us weak but human.
There is something transformative about connection and dialogue. If you are struggling, engaging with peers, seeking professional counseling, or merely sharing experiences can provide much needed relief and understanding. It is time for PR professionals to recognize that addressing personal challenges is not an indicator of professional weakness but an empowering tool for personal and professional excellence.
The world continues to shift and our days are filled with many stressors which makes it even more important to prioritize mental health. Recognizing, addressing, and supporting these concerns will not only enhance individual well-being but also foster a more resilient, effective, and empathetic PR industry.
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