MONDAY 13 FEB 2023 1:33 PM


The escalation of poor mental health in PR has prompted the launch of an initiative designed to provide support across the industry.

Research by the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) last year found that 90% of PR professionals have experienced poor mental health. A further 60% described their workloads as “overwhelming.” The bodies behind this research have supported the launch of a training programme designed to assist stress management.

‘Under the tree’ is a CSR initiative launched by communications agency fox&cat. The CPD (Continuing Professional Development) -accredited programme is designed to equip practitioners with the skills needed to manage work-related pressure and stress. A 13-week programme with ‘Under the tree’ includes free weekly 45-minute online sessions hosted by specialists, as well as panel discussions on mental health.

“Agency, in-house and independent practitioners are frequently having to get through very heavy workloads usually with short deadlines, creating highly pressured working environments,” says fox&cat founder, Paul Hutchings. “I have suffered work-related mental health challenges in the past due to these issues and I continue to manage stress levels in my job to maintain control and balance.”

‘Under the tree’ sessions have been designed with the PRCA and CIPR’s mental health audit in mind, focusing on issues such as critical connection, team mental health, resilience, solutions-focused thinking, mindfulness and mental health leadership. After completing the course, CIPR, PRCA and Healthcare Communications Association (HCA) members can apply for CPD accreditation. 

“We have been heavily involved in helping shape the focus areas for fox&cat’s ‘Under the tree’ programme to ensure the sessions meet the needs of the industry,” says PRCA deputy director general, Renna Markson. “We are very pleased to be part of this initiative and witness fox&cat take it on as part of their own specific area of corporate responsibility.”

HCA CEO, Mike Dixon, says: “It is perhaps ironic how those who promote good health are themselves susceptible to poor mental health.

“Through our involvement in this programme, alongside our other wellbeing activity, we hope to help achieve positive changes within the sector.”