As we mark World Mental Health Day on 10 October, it’s time to open up about our mental wellbeing and shatter the stigma. Here are 10 activities organisations can share with their employees to get involved.
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This year, we've opened up the Unmind library to share some of our mindful exercises, scientific wisdom and inspiring stories.
Over the last eighteen months or so, we’ve learned a lot about ourselves and our fellow humans. We’ve learned to live and work in new and challenging circumstances – whether that’s propping up the country on the frontlines or in a new hybrid style. We've learned that despite differences and distances, the whole world is interconnected. We’ve learned that everybody has their own unique set of challenges as well as their privileges.
This year’s theme is ‘mental health in an unequal world', and its core focus is improving access to mental health resources for everyone. With that in mind, we’ve compiled 10 activities for organisations that will boost wellbeing, empower your employees to become better advocates, and continue the conversation on mental health in your workplace.
1. Educate and communicate
Awareness is the first step in fostering a more positive mental health culture in our society. For your employees, this not only means raising awareness on the importance of World Mental Health Day across all your internal channels, but also making sure they know how to access any support and resources on offer easily, and without fear of judgement.
This might mean making sure that internal processes, like Employee Assistance Programmes or Employee Resource Groups, are clearly signposted, as well as highlighting any other internal or external options that can provide extra wellbeing support.
2. Brew connections
People in the UK often joke that many of the world’s ills can be solved with a good cup of tea. And while science doesn’t exactly back this up, the act of intentionally setting aside the time to connect with a colleague over a brew, real or virtual, can be immensely restorative and offer vital support (the tea should be real though – you can't sip a virtual brew!). Taking the time to foster these informal social connections is one of the foundations for building a positive mental health culture.
3. Nurture mind and body
The last few months have presented new stressors for many of us at work. A short mindfulness or inclusive fitness activity can help alleviate this feeling by encouraging everyone to take a step back from their to-do lists and refocus. Mindfulness is particularly helpful for breaking unhelpful thought patterns, while a fitness class can help boost self-esteem while lowering stress levels.
4. Learn and grow
Knowledge is power, and one of the best ways to spread awareness around mental health is through education and sharing what we know. With this year’s theme focusing on making mental health accessible for all, a virtual lunch and learn session exploring the barriers to mental wellbeing will help raise awareness – and may spark a few good ideas. Last year, we tuned in for the World Health Organisation'sBig Event for Mental Health, and a recording of this epic and moving event is still available for you to watch.
5. Share experiences
Sometimes, we all need to consider things from a different perspective. Organising a guest speaker who can share their story on mental health will not only start an impactful conversation, but might also empower your employees to ask questions or seek their own support. Workshops, seminars and training can also help equip everyone with the skills they need to better support not only their own mental health, but also the wellbeing of those around them.
6. Contribute to a cause
The theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day is focused on mental health parity, which means ensuring that everyone has access to support for their mental wellbeing, no matter their socioeconomic background or geographical location. There are so many underserved causes all over the world nurturing mental health, so pick one (or more!) that resonates with everyone, and give back.
7. Show recognition
Studies show that recognition is a key driver in workplace mental health. When we feel valued for our contributions at work, it contributes positively to our mental wellbeing. Whether it’s praising a colleague’s hard work on a recent project or thanking them for just being them, make sure to highlight people for their contributions and spread a little joy.
8. Start a conversation
Mental health is a spectrum, and developing awareness of it relies on all of us doing our part to talk about it openly, free from preconceptions or stigma. To get the conversation started and be part of the change, use some of our free resources across your social media platforms and email signatures, and spread the word.
Of course, many of these conversations are already happening online. Every year, we see more and more people using this time to share unique and personal stories on social media. So from the 4th - 10th October, we're running a week-long social campaign to champion empathy, listening and kindness at work – and in life.
9. Ask your employees how they’d like to mark the day
Mental health looks different to everyone, and nurturing it at your organisation will depend on how your employees experience their own mental wellbeing as individuals. For some, embracing mental health might look like getting together for a coffee and a chat, while others might prefer to join a wellness class or have some personal reflection time.
Asking your employees how they’d like to mark World Mental Health day will not only mean that their voices feel heard, but will also pave the way for a more open, inclusive mental health culture at your organisation.
10. Join us for a chat with a very special guest
Save the date and join our special webinar on 14th October, where Unmind co-founder Steve Peralta will be joined by a special guest to discuss all things mental health. Click the banner below to register.
We believe mental health is a spectrum
World Mental Health Day may fall on 10 October each year, but it also serves as a timely reminder that mental health is not a one-day event. We all have mental health every single day, and that’s why taking steps to better advocate for our own mental wellbeing and that of those around us will help shape a world where mental health is universally understood, nurtured, and celebrated.
To find out more about how you can achieve this at your organisation, book a demo with one of our specialists.