Three in five MENA PR professionals want more mental health support from their employer

Three in five (57 per cent) PR professionals across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) say their employers are not doing enough to support the mental health of their staff, a major new report shows.

PRCA MENA general manager Hayley Clements: 'It’s good to know the industry is taking the topic seriously'
PRCA MENA general manager Hayley Clements: 'It’s good to know the industry is taking the topic seriously'

The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) MENA Mental Health Report 2021 found that 44 per cent of respondents have not had any communication from their employer about mental health in the last 12 months and that just 15 per cent of workers felt “completely supported” by their employer on the issue. 

The report, which is a joint project between PRCA MENA and YouGov, also found that an average of 36 per cent of people who faced a mental health problem in the same period did not speak to anyone at their workplace about it - a figure rising to 41 per cent for women and dipping to 33 per cent among men. However, 79 per cent of those who did confide in a colleague or manager said they were satisfied with the response. 

Published on World Mental Health day, other findings in the report include 42 per cent of respondents saying the pandemic has worsened their mental health, as well as 28 per cent saying it has improved it. 

It has also hit people’s physical health, with 17 per cent of those surveyed having contracted COVID-19 and 21 per cent having lost a loved one to the virus. 

Younger people are more likely to have been affected by mental illness, with 10 per cent saying they have had such issues in their lives. 

The report, which provides insights around the wellbeing of the region’s PR and communications workforce, draws the conclusion that COVID-19 has become a mental health issue with lasting effects on the way we live and work. And while it suggests that younger demographics are generally more engaged with mental health issues, the profession should not ignore those needs from more senior members or assume they are any less prone to mental ill-health.

Now in its second year, the report also includes comparisons on how things have changed since the publication of last year’s inaugural Mental Health Report. 

Francis Ingham, director general of the PRCA, said: “It is clear that the mental health impact of COVID-19 is not going away quickly even if we have, I hope, now seen the worst of this pandemic.

“I’m very proud that PRCA members across the MENA region, and indeed around the world, are taking the issue of mental health seriously. I hope that this report will help even more of them to do exactly that.”

Hayley Clements, general manager of PRCA MENA, said: “Since PRCA MENA produced its first Mental Health Report in October last year, I’ve had a number of conversations about the importance of this topic in a profession that is exciting, rewarding and even glamorous at times - but can also, as we all know, be draining and stressful. It’s good to know that the industry is taking the topic seriously.”

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