New CIPR-supported training launches to help industry manage work related pressure and stress

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has partnered with communications agency fox&cat, the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) and the Healthcare Communications Association (HCA) to launch Under the tree, a free training programme designed to equip PR practitioners with the skills they need to manage work-related pressure and stress.

The programme is fully CPD-accredited and includes a 13-week programme with free weekly 45-minute online sessions by trained specialists and senior leader panel discussions around mental health.

It was developed in response to 2022's Workplace Mental Wellbeing Audit revealing that more than 90% of PR professionals experienced poor mental health, above the average of 69% for workers across all other professional sectors in the UK. The research found that of those PR professionals experiencing poor mental health in the past year, less than a quarter (22%) took time off work to rest and recover versus 41% for workers in all other professional sectors. Nearly 60% of PR practitioners cited overwhelming workload as a key source of workplace stress.

The sessions are constructed around the issues highlighted by the mental health audit and focus on critical connection; team mental health safety; resilience and confidence; solutions-focused thinking; mindfulness and me; and mental health leadership.

Alastair McCapra, CIPR Chief Executive

Education and commitment to mental health are two key markers for positive change. We are delighted to be partnering with fox&cat on this first-of-its-kind programme, and it is inspiring to see such a young agency step forward to make a difference in mental health in our industry.

Alastair McCapra, CIPR Chief Executive
Paul Hutchins, Founder of fox&cat

Agency, in-house and independent practitioners are frequently having to get through very heavy workloads usually with short deadlines, creating highly pressured working environments. 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.

The insights provided to us by the likes of the CIPR, PRCA and HCA go a long way to helping identify the issues we face as leaders in communications, and our free-to-all Under the tree programme helps translate these insights into meaningful education to improve the skills we all need to better manage mental health when working in communications. 

Paul Hutchins, Founder of fox&cat
Renna Markson, PRCA Deputy Director General

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. We are very pleased to be part of this initiative and witness fox&cat take it on and fund it as part of their own specific area of corporate responsibility.

Renna Markson, PRCA Deputy Director General

Information on the programme 

Sessions will be held live on fox&cat’s LinkedIn page. All sessions will be recorded and will be made available alongside downloadable resources and top tips from the campaign webpage

The 13-week CDP-accredited programme has sessions every Wednesday at 12.15 from 22 February through to 17 May. Full session details can be found here:  

Those who take advantage of these free sessions will receive: 

  • education from eleven 45-minute drop-in sessions to introduce the skills and techniques needed to effectively manage pressure from fox&cat’s extended network of expert trainers 
  • two panel discussions aimed at senior leaders between fox&cat, CIPR, PRCA and HCA around the Mental Wellbeing in PR research findings, the importance of training and a look towards the future of mental health in communications

About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations

Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the world's only Royal Chartered professional body for public relations practitioners with over 10,000 members.

The CIPR advances professionalism in public relations by making its members accountable to their employers and the public through a code of conduct and searchable public register, setting standards through training, qualifications, awards and the production of best practice and skills guidance, facilitating Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and awarding Chartered Public Relations Practitioner status (Chart.PR).

About fox&cat 

Fox&cat is a new breed of agency that parallels the importance of managing the pressures and stresses of working in comms with delivering impeccable integrated communications for its clients. Fox&cat operates with a network of over sixty communications professionals covering its four key service areas. This includes thirty+ in-house and agency-side senior communications consultants spanning all aspects of integrated communications, six professional coaches focusing on managing pressure, and four experts in leadership training and wellbeing.