Newly released research from PRSA-NY uncovers an acute mental health issue among its members surveyed due to the nature of working in the public relations industry. Beyond dealing with the pandemic on a personal level, those working in the profession have been on the frontlines of helping businesses address and respond to the pandemic—which has created an added layer of mental health challenges and complexities for PR pros.
The organization’s 2022 State of Mental Health in Public Relations Report, in partnership with data-driven strategic research and comms firm Honan Strategy Group, conducted the small but intensive survey to understand how members are coping with their mental health and determine resources to help working professionals in the industry.
Key findings include:
- Two-in-five members say they feel pressure and/or anxiety from their job every day.
- One-third of members say they feel pressure and/or anxiety a few times a week, and nearly one-in-five say they feel this way a few times a month.
- 79 percent of members agree that they feel anxious and uncertain about the future.
- 68 percent of members agree that COVID-19 is hopefully coming to an end, but they still have emotional scar tissue.
- 54 percent of members agree that while they are generally doing OK these days, they don’t feel like they are in a good “head space”.
- 69 percent of members agree that information from stress and anxiety experts, and psychiatrists or psychologists who specialize would be most helpful.
“Despite the various commitments we have seen centered on mental health and employee wellbeing, the current state of the industry shows that companies and agencies must do more to preserve the future of public relations,” said Aaron Kwittken, president of PRSA-NY, in a news release. “There is an acute mental health issue that has been exacerbated by the pandemic, social justice issues and ongoing political unrest. As leaders start to plan for 2023, mental health should be the first item on their organizational agenda.”
The survey is one of many measures part of PRSA-NY’s ongoing commitment to promote mental health and wellbeing among members. In addition to the survey, the organization also launched a mental health wellness hub and established its first-ever Mental Health Subcommittee, which strives to bring mental health to the forefront of the PR industry and provide chapter members activities, content, and other opportunities to prioritize their wellbeing.
“Our new survey underscores the importance of mental health in the profession and why more resources should be made available to practitioners navigating today’s complex business landscape. The role of PR has evolved significantly during the pandemic, and with these changes, our industry must also evolve to meet the demands of employee wellbeing,” said Jason Abrams, chair of the committee.
The subcommittee is composed of Abrams, senior PR manager at Amtrak; Amanda Anderson, PR and comms professional; Matthew Hirsch, strategic brand communications manager at Pernod Ricard USA; and Sarah Smith, director of media relations and social media at Weill Cornell Medicine.
A total of 75 survey interviews were conducted online, in parallel with previous surveys conducted by or on behalf of PRSA-NY. Honan Strategy Group completed the field work between April 21st and June 16th, 2022 among Members of the PRSA-NY.