A wellbeing guide for comms professionals
When we think about wellbeing at work, we tend to think about it in the context of crisis situations. Yet as a charity communication professional you are dealing with challenging situations every day – whether it’s listening to someone who has a terminal illness tell their story or seeing abusive messages from people who don’t agree with what your organisation does.
The scale of what communications professionals deal with is vast. There are obvious causes that we would expect to bring up heightened emotions, such as charities who support people with life-limiting diseases or support those who are bereaved. And then there are charities who fight for human rights, and support refugees, who are subjected to racist abuse on an almost daily basis. Even animal welfare charities are criticised for certain policies that some people don’t agree with. Every charity is affected and so too are their staff.
It’s important to recognise the daily, ‘business as usual’ situations that you as a communications professional consistently face, that could be impacting on your mental health. Just because it’s not about you personally, doesn’t mean that it’s not internalised and won’t impact your wellbeing. Over time, the effect of hearing and seeing emotionally distressing or even abusive messages, will take its toll.
That’s why knowing the signs or common indicators of mental health issues is really important so that you can spot them and address them. Just as you might provide a duty of care to your beneficiaries or case studies, you need to be supported too.
Helen Breakwell is a qualified counsellor who previously worked in the communications team at a leading cancer charity for 15 years. Helen shares what you should be looking out for when it comes to the signs and symptoms of mental health problems – which can in some cases manifest physically – and offers seven tips to look after your wellbeing.