On the 13th of September Kirsty Marrins launched “A wellbeing guide for comms professionals” in collaboration with CharityComms. Kirsty works in the charity sector.

This follows increasing issues with comms professionals being unable to switch off which is leading to a detrimental effect on the mental health of many working in the related sectors.

This is markedly a more recent issue due to the rise in social media usage. Whilst this has had its positive impacts such as the increased connectivity between brands and higher visibility for consumers, it also has its dangerous downfalls. These include the rising numbers of “keyboard warriors” – individuals who hide behind their keyboards leaving hurtful messages which they would not get away with if it was in person. When leaving such messages and comments they lose touch with the reality that there is a real person on the other side reading the messages and absorbing the negative energy being spread.

Furthermore, with the ease of use of social media comes an expectation to reply within an hour whether it is within your working hours or not. This has led to an “always on” culture which imbalances the work life balance of individuals. This is especially an issue in sectors involving distressing and upsetting issues and stories that professionals have to deal with.

Within the guide Kirsty highlights the importance of recognising the impacts that everyday situations within our roles can have on our mental health. This is important to note when putting strategies in place, rather than just looking out for crisis circumstances. She emphasises the need to acknowledge that something can affect you whether it is directly about you or not, we still internalise them.

Kirsty’s guide is broken down into chapters including those on warning signs and advice, the benefits of team support and strategies for self-care. The guide is also sponsored by Lightly who started the #ReclaimSocial campaign in 2018 alongside a Reclaim Social podcast both which are aimed at promoting positivity across social channels and counteracting the negativity which is all too common.

Within the report the impact that poor mental health can have on a business is highlighted. According to a 2017 Government-Backed report ‘Thriving at Work’ there are financial detriments to poor employee mental health and it can cost employers up to £42 billion a year. The culture which a workplace embraces can be very impactful on the mental health on its employees, if an employee feels supported and like they have people that they can approach for support this has the potential to alleviate some of their troubles.

Kirsty’s 7 tips for Better Mental Health:

  1. Work-life balance – including avoiding constantly looking at your emails during your time off.
  2. Support at work – offering a support network in the workplace.
  3. Personal life – are you feeling pressurised in this section of your life as well?
  4. Coping Strategies – make sure this are healthy too.
  5. Healthy lifestyle – having a healthy diet and taking part in regular exercise.
  6. Nature – it is important to get outside into green spaces.
  7. Screen Time – it is important to have breaks from the screens.

Ways in which a team can support each other are also outlined in the guide, including upskilling each other, sharing the workload and looking out for each other. The strategies for self-care highlighted include identifying your inner critic, practicing mindfulness, giving yourself a permission slip (for example “I give myself permission to spend 20 minutes reading a book), being your own cheerleader and practicing gratitude.

The full guide can be found here.

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