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Mental health and wellbeing in PR: What are your three wishes?

To mark World Mental Health Day, I am thrilled to launch the first in a series of episodes this week discussing the topic of mental health and wellness in the PR sector.

These are the statistics: 1 in 5 Australians workers are suffering a mental health condition in any 12 month period; 45% of the population aged 16-85 will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime – that is 1 in 2 of us!

To raise awareness and provoke discussion of this topic in PR, I have asked senior PR leaders from around the world to share their three wishes when it comes to mental health and wellness in the PR sector.

In this first episode I speak with UK practitioner Jane Fordham who coined the three wishes concept as a way to get PR leaders to share their three wishes, three tips, three kernals of advice for moving the discussion on mental health forward in a positive way.

Jane, who has held a range of agency roles over the past two decades, including head of people and talent at 150 strong UK agency Golin before more recently striking out as a consultant on all things people, culture and diversity within creative industry and corporate sector, says the topic of mental health in PR cuts across competitor industry divides, different disciplines or different levels.

She admits the success of #threewishes has been both sobering as to how big the need and the challenge is but also empowering with seeing it gathering momentum.

There is no shortage of data showing there is a business imperative to having this discussion. Leaders and cultures that are built around humility, curiosity, empathy a true ability to listen, Jane says, will have happier staff, more engaged staff who are going to be in a better position to deliver outcome for clients.

She references a statistic from Sean Archer – a Harvard psychologist – who has found that your brain at positive, so when you are feel happy, engaged and or well, is 31% more productive than at negative or neutral – who wouldn’t want that?

Jane’s #threewishes are:

  1. Truly listen to your staff and engage on an ongoing basis to have meaningful dialogue
  2. True change requires cultural and behavioural shifts which are not quick and easy
  3. Supporting and training your managers – giving them permission and trusting them to deliver support to your staff

Following in this episode, Ava Lawler – Possibility Partnership; Matt Holmes – Poem; Richard Brett – CEO of OPR; and David Brain – Enero; also share their three wishes.

I first heard the concept when Michelle Hutton spoke at Mumbrella CommsCon earlier this year and thanks to Michelle and Jane for their support in getting this series together.

Be sure to subscribe to hear from other industry leaders in coming days and do also share your views using #threewishes .

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