Everyone is talking about mental health but what are we actually doing to make things better? At Shooting Star we take our staff’s health very seriously and when people have personal concerns we always do our best to support them.
Mental health is a business-critical issue for the PR and marketing industry.
The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) recently published its annual State of the Profession report (2019) which revealed that 21 per cent of public relations practitioners live with, or have previously lived with, a diagnosed mental health condition reflecting national data. Over half of those respondents said their work contributes highly to their diagnosis.
Around a quarter (23 per cent) of PR professionals say they have taken sickness absence from work on the grounds of stress, anxiety or depression. This is an issue that has far reaching consequences for employees and businesses which is why it is top of our agenda.
As well as developing a ‘mental health at work’ plan we talk openly about mental health with our staff, so that they are encouraged to speak up when they’re experiencing a problem and hopefully access support as soon as possible.
Here are some thoughts from our team about the importance of addressing mental health.
Senior Account Executive Melissa Orchard
“I believe people should be encouraged to deal with things in their own way. Whether that’s through rest, reading or other hobbies. Taking a break from social media can also be helpful. It’s also important to talk about things if we’re comfortable enough to do so; by opening up we can get things off our chest.”
Account Manager Nikki Keshwara
“By monitoring our use of time we can focus better, whether that’s focusing on relaxing or on entertainment. Eating healthily is important too; It’s difficult when you’re short of time but if we try to eat properly it can make a huge difference.
“At this time of year it can be difficult, and many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder; in the northern hemisphere it’s important to ensure we get outside to make sure we are getting enough vitamin D. Supplements won’t cut it.”
Rising Star Intern Tati Davey
“It’s important to remember that the people you work with do care about you. We all go through a tough time sometimes but at Shooting Star we’re friends as well as colleagues.
“People do just want you to be happy while you’re at work. Understanding this and sitting a trusted colleague down to tell them if you’re not OK can often make all the difference, and it helps to get things in perspective when you’re struggling with your mental health.”
Digital Marketer Sam Clarke
“Openness is key, especially as a man. Luckily the mood towards mental health has shifted in recent years but many men still struggle to convey their feelings, especially to other men. Considering the biggest killer of men under 40 is suicide there is much work to be done to improve wellbeing. We must try to deal with issues proactively, rather than reactively.”
Account Manager Zoe Lamb
“I’m inspired by Helen Cousin, who set up Help Me, I’m Fine (Shooting Star’s 2019 charity of the year) after losing her daughter to suicide. As part of her work Helen has written a book called The Knot, which is designed for children but can appeal to adults too! It can act as a conversation starter at any age and that’s so important, as sometimes that’s all you need to help people open up to you.”
Senior Marketing Manager Sharon Foster
“Like many people I find exercise beneficial and make time every week to take part in some form of physical activity. Having goals also helps: I completed the Royal Parks Half Marathon for Mind, the mental health charity, and running has pretty much been a regular part of my life since.
“Here at Shooting Star we’re very lucky to have a great team, supportive directors who value their staff and their wellbeing, fresh fruit and our brilliant collection of office dogs!
“As an agency we recognise that we are the sum of parts; we all have a role to play so we owe it to each other to be supportive. We celebrate everyone’s wins and make sure that everyone knows they are valued.”
Director Jez Ashberry
“When Kate and I set up Shooting Star we wanted our agency to be a place where people enjoy coming to work and feel able to talk to colleagues about their mental health issues.
“We do everything we can to support our team. It could be little things like providing free fresh fruit and a weekly breakfast, or it could be more significant support like flexible working or time off for personal reasons.
“Our colleagues are our most important asset and we want everyone working here to feel happy and supported.”