Must Listen Podcast: PR Talk: Sheila Hamilton – Mental Health Advocate


What is the podcast?

PR Talk is a podcast run by Veracity, which is a PR firm in Portland Oregon. Veracity began their PR Talk podcast in December 2016 with their first episode titled ‘Elements of a Good Blog Post’. From there they have covered many areas of PR and marketing and have introduced guests to discuss their area of expertise within the PR industry.

The podcast is hosted by Amy Rosenberg and this episode is an interview with Sheila Hamilton, a broadcaster and mental health advocate. In this episode Rosenberg and Hamilton discuss mental health in PR and ways to battle the three key PR vulnerabilities.

Where will you find it?

You can listen to the podcast here.

Why should you listen to this episode?

This episode brings a frank and honest discussion on the topic of mental health in the workplace, which is more important now than ever to openly discuss. Hamilton began her career as an Executive Producer for the public broadcasting station in Utah. Working between marketing and promotions, Hamilton realised that she didn’t want to work in business and took a course in Communications before graduating with a double major. Hamilton began a job at the ABC affiliate the day she graduated and fell in love with investigative reporting. Hamilton moved into radio after a lull in investigative reporting in the 90’s.

Sheila Hamilton and Amy Rosenberg

After noticing a change in her husbands behaviour, Hamilton pushed him to get psychiatric care, he died from suicide upon his release. After becoming aware of the mental health crisis, Hamilton changed the course of her career and wrote a book discussing her experience with the failing system. Hamilton brings her experience to public speaking and runs a podcast to raise awareness of mental health. She also runs a company which intends to help employers provide education to their employees about the reality of mental health.

Hamilton gives tips on keeping mentally well in the workplace, including moving your body every day, which is something that many PR professionals working at a desk can forget to do. She highlights the importance of mindfulness practice, good nutrition and getting enough sleep in the improvement of mental health, especially during the current time when many people are working from home.

Rosenberg and Hamilton discuss the issue of boundaries when it comes to working in PR and the continuous pressure to be always on and always connected to clients. Rosenberg admits that she hit a wall after working for seven days a week in fear of losing clients at the beginning of the pandemic. She discusses the change that happened as soon as she reintroduced exercise into her daily life and took a step back from her work.

Some of the things Hamilton says:

‘I became deeply interested in the crisis that is mental illness across America and how poorly people who have mental illness are treated’

‘I really believe that if people were armed with this information, the same way that we arm them with health information […] I think that we could prevent so many crises from happening’

‘It’s really important to go through these [mindfulness tips] daily if not as often as you can so that you’re not carried away in that constant ‘doing’ exhausting circle’.