Wendy Lund
GCI Health

One of the main differentiators of GCI Health is how we strive to put people at the center of everything we do. For many years, women have put other people at the center, without ever putting themselves there.  When it comes to healthcare, we had an insight that we should look more closely at what this looks like, whether we could measure it, and then work to have a transformative impact on how women take care of themselves by bringing a larger awareness to this issue.

In 2017 we teamed up with Redbook and HealthyWomen to create the BeHealthiHer Movement which was designed to bring awareness and gather resources to help women take better care of themselves.  We knew that women generally did not put themselves at the center, rather they habitually care for and look after the needs of others first.  Our hope was that women could perhaps move themselves at least to second?!

One of the first initiatives of the BeHealthiHer Movement was to create a survey across industries asking women questions about their health and how they take care of themselves.  What we found was that women do not prioritize their own health and well-being, do not delegate the care of family, and often do not take advantage of employee benefits available to them.

But the most eye-opening statistic was that over 90% of women reported moderate to high levels of stress or anxiety. We decided to dig much deeper on this topic.  It is no coincidence that the World Health Organization now includes job burn-out in their list of diagnosable conditions.  Stress is a key contributor to job burn-out, and the stress and anxiety that women feel in the workplace, combined with their tendency to put their own care at the bottom of their priorities, create an urgency that we need to address immediately.

Lest we think that the PR industry is immune from these trends:  In our follow-up survey of women in the PR industry, they reported stress and anxiety symptoms at a whopping 97%. It is critical for leaders in our industry to recognize the obvious dangers in this statistic and begin to take action to help women navigate the stressors they experience in agency life.  Primary among them are the same obstacles women face everywhere — namely that they do not ask for help, they do not prioritize themselves, and they do not take advantage of the benefits that exist for them.

The BeHealthiHer movement continues to bring awareness to these issues, and we have results from a new survey coming out this fall in partnership with Prevention magazine examining stress and anxiety on a deeper level. I encourage everyone to please check out our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BeHealthiHER/ which offers tips, inspiration and expert advice for women on how to take steps to BeHealthiHer.

To hear more, listen to Jennefer Witter’s episode on the Agencies of the Future podcast.