Wellbeing in charity communications

3 December 2019
14.00 - 17.20
CharityComms members/corporate partners: free
Non-members: £70+vat

This venue is wheelchair accessible.

Live broadcast: CharityComms members can join us virtually for free.

Human Rights Action Centre - Amnesty International UK
17-25 New Inn Yard

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When we think about wellbeing in comms, we tend to think about it in the context of crisis situations. And while there’s recently been a noticeable increase in the number and intensity of crises, there are also a vast array of other challenging situations comms professionals deal with every day.

With the growth of social media, we’re closer to our audiences than ever before. But with this growth also comes the pressure of being ‘always on’, the expectation of needing to respond instantly and the increasing inability to switch off.

Comms professionals are also increasingly finding themselves on the frontline, whether people are asking their charity for help or trolling them. On top of all of this, comms professionals can be exposed daily to the challenging stories of the people they seek to help.

To coincide with the recent launch of our wellbeing in comms best practice guide, we’ve developed this special seminar to share tips and advice around how we can best support ourselves and each other to improve mental health and resilience at work. In this seminar, we’ll be exploring:

  • The scale of the problem – what does social media and modern work do to our brains and why are charity communications professionals vulnerable?
  • Tips to improve mental health – warning signs and advice
  • Looking after each other – benefits of team support and checking in with colleagues
  • Frameworks to protect wellbeing – putting a plan in place
  • Investing in staff wellbeing – leadership from the top


14.00 - 14.20
14.20 - 14.30

A welcome from Kirsty Marrins, one of CharityComms’ newly elected trustees.

Kirsty Marrins
copywriter, trainer and consultant, freelance

14.30 - 14.50
Challenges, protection and burn out

From trolls to hate messages and from crises to emotional content, in her talk, Helen will explore some of the unique, daily challenges faced by charity communications professionals. Drawing from her own experience in this sector as well as her work as a qualified counsellor, Helen will outline some of the signs of burn out. This segment is all about helping us to identify and tackle challenges in order to improve wellbeing and mental health.

Helen Breakwell
qualified counsellor and founder , Wellspring Therapy Service

14.50 - 15.10
How technology is affecting your brain – what we actually know

From the effects of screens on our sleeping habits to the impact of social media on mental health – not a week goes by without some new headline warning of the perils of technology on our brains and behaviour. But, what do we actually know? In this session, Sylwia will explore the latest research in this area. She’ll be busting some myths as well as helping us to make some healthy individual choices around our technological habits.

Sylwia Korsak
digital wellbeing consultant and social media community champion, OTR Bristol

15.10 - 15.25
How trolls impact mental wellbeing in the charity sector

The proliferation of social media means we’re closer than ever to our audiences – everyone has access to our CEOs and comms staff 24/7. With this, comes the possibility that we’ll experience people who are intensely unhappy with our charity and staff can become the focus of their frustration. If you or your colleagues have ever experienced trolling online, you’ll know what a wearing and devastating experience it can be. Through the lens of recent research into how female CEOs are trolled and bullied online, Zoe and Matt will explore some of the tactics and impacts and start the conversation about how we can find solutions within the charity sector.

Zoe Amar
director, Zoe Amar Digital

Matt Collins
managing director, Platypus Digital

15.25 - 15.30
Questions to the speakers
Refreshment break
15.30 - 15.50
A three-minute mindfulness practice to use in challenging situations
15.50 - 16.05

In her talk, Hannah will share a simple mindfulness practice that can be used to ground us in the moment and help in challenging times. She’ll be talking about how it can be helpful to identify and label challenging thoughts and to understand how they play out in our bodies and feelings. This will be followed by a short three-minute practice for everyone to join in if it feels ok to do so.

Hannah Massarella
founder, Bird

16.05 - 16.35
What are the active ingredients for a happier and fulfilling life?

Positive psychology, happiness and resilience expert, Vanessa King of Action for Happiness, unlocks some of the key ingredients for happier living. She’ll be exploring some of the areas that science shows we can most easily take action for ourselves to make a positive impact on our psychological wellbeing. Through some interactive activities we’ll also do some self-discovery around self-compassion and learned helplessness. She’ll also look at how we might bring some of these ingredients into the workplace.

Vanessa King
author, board member and lead positive psychology and workplace expert, Action for Happiness

16.35 - 16.55
Tips for cultivating a supportive and open team culture

Samaritans works to make sure there’s always someone there for anyone who needs someone. The small digital team at the Samaritans deal with some highly emotional content on a daily basis. They’re also on the frontline on social media with people reaching out to them for help and with their personal stories. In his talk, Michael will talk about how his organisation looks after staff wellbeing and also how as a team they have cultivated a protective and open culture to help support each other. He will share his top tips which you can take back to your own teams.

Mike Keating
digital communications manager, Samaritans

Hannah Lattimer
social media officer, Samaritans

16.55 - 17.10
What is a mental health first aider and why have one?

Mental Health First Aid England offers courses to equip people with the skills they need to support their own and others’ wellbeing. In this talk, Vicki will outline how becoming a Mental Health First Aider can teach people to spot the symptoms of mental health issues, offer initial help and guide a person towards support. She will also explore how we can encourage our teams and ourselves to talk more freely about mental health and seek support when we need it.

Vicki Cockmanhead of client delivery, Mental Health First Aid England

17.10 - 17.15
Are you feeling more confident?

Kirsty Marrins
copywriter, trainer and consultant, freelance

17.15 - 17.20

Adeela Warley
CEO, CharityComms

Live broadcast – book your place

If you’re a CharityComms member you can join this seminar virtually via our private Periscope broadcast. Perfect for members based outside of London or for those who can’t get away from the office. To watch the live broadcast, please book your place. Once you’ve booked your place you’ll receive a booking confirmation email with further information about the live broadcast and what you need to do. 

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