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Diversity in Action: Three key takeaways from Sia Papageorgiou on the impact on mental health and wellbeing

photo of Sia Papageorgiou with Diversity in Action logo on the left and at the bottom right

For our first Diversity In Action session titled: The Impact on Mental Health and Wellbeing, on Monday, Nov 7, 2022 We were joined by Sia Papageorgiou. 

Sia Papageorgiou FRSA, SCMP (She/Her), Managing Partner, Centre for Strategic Communication Excellence, Communication Consultant & Trainer Helping Communication Professionals Amplify Their Impact And Become Trusted, Strategic, And In-Demand Advisors | Immediate Past Chair GCCC | Co-Founder The Alignment People. 

During her session, Sia gave some great tips and insights on the state of mental health in the communication profession following her global research study.

Three key takeaways from Sia’s session: 

1. Communication professionals’ mental wellbeing

“The results are concerning and need to be addressed as a matter of urgency!” In the results of the global survey Sia conducted, which included almost 800 communication professionals from 40 countries worldwide, 83% of communication professionals rate their mental wellbeing as poor to average. As well, 48% of communication professionals have considered leaving the profession because of their mental wellbeing with the workloads and demands being the biggest contributors. 

2. The top three barriers to improving our mental wellbeing

 According to the same survey cited by Sia the top three barriers are:

  1. Workload and expectations
  2. Work-life balance
  3. COVID-19, isolation, and a sense of disconnectedness

Some of the other barriers include poor management, general uncertainty and resources and staffing with fatigue and stress being the top two negative contributors to a poor mental health state among comms professionals.

3. We need courageous conversations to feel like we belong

According to Sia, two thirds of comms practitioners have taken time off to support their mental wellbeing since the beginning of COVID. She shared the BELONG framework from colleague Julie Gillespie (2022) to help us take care of one another:

Be in your courage zone – lean into discomfort safely by having a plan and building a bridge into your courage zone 

Engage in compassionate empathy – support, don’t fix 

Listen and validate – create a safe space for the other person to share their struggle

Own your own boundaries and respect theirs – learn to say no and hear no 

Lower expectations or judgement – put your own thoughts aside, this isn’t about you

Give support the way they need it – just ask someone what support looks like to them.

Case studies by Sia: 

Office of Rail and Road: 


Connect with Sia Papageorgiou: 
LinkedIn: siapapageorgiou 
Twitter: @spp_comms 

Rewatch Sia’s and all our sessions for Diversity In Action conference 2022 for one low price here:

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