Mental Health Awareness Week 15th – 21st May 2023
Creating a culture that promotes wellbeing should sit at the heart of a robust sustainability strategy and looking after the mental health of your workforce is a key to being an ethical and responsible business. Mental Health Awareness Week offers an ideal opportunity to raise awareness and put support structures in place to achieve good mental health for all.
Now in its 22nd year, Mental Health Awareness Week is organised by The Mental Health Foundation. It provides a platform to challenge stigma and have an open and constructive conversation about how we create a society that prevents problems from developing and protects our mental wellbeing.
This year’s theme is anxiety. Although anxiety is a normal emotion that everyone experiences, it can get out of control. Pressures like the cost-of-living crisis are putting people under enormous strain. Anxiety can be hugely debilitating and as a society, we have a responsibility to break taboos, make anxiety easier to manage and ensure that improving mental health is a top priority.
Mental health at work
Many factors make us feel anxious, from relationships to financial pressures. Work also has a major impact on our mental health.
According to The Workplace Health Report: 2023, 60% of people in the workplace experience at least mild symptoms of anxiety. Every employer has a duty of care and has a responsible to support their staff. A good starting point is to get your organisation involved in Mental Health Awareness Week to inspire action and encourage people to talk about their experiences.
Top 10 tips
1. Encourage everyone to wear a green ribbon, the international symbol of mental health awareness.
2. Take part in Wear it Green Day 2023 to raise money to help achieve good mental health for all. By going green, you can help the foundation carry out vital research and deliver community programmes.
3. Run workshops around mental health encouraging people to discuss key topics and share experiences. Share resources and signpost people to support organisations.
4. Ensure that business leaders lead by example by talking openly about mental health and their experiences of anxiety. Perhaps they could write a blog.
5. By starting a discussion, you can encourage others to share their stories around anxiety without fear of judgement or discrimination. The Mental Health Foundation is asking the public to contribute their stories on social media with the hashtag #ToHelpMyAnxiety and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek. Be sure to include these tags in your internal communications so your people can get involved.
6. Have an open-door policy and culture that gives people the confidence to seek advice and support.
7. Give people a choice of spaces to inhabit in the office. Be aware of neurodiversity and understand that one size doesn’t fit all. Create a calm inviting space that employees can go to take break, destress and unwind.
8. Don’t expect people to leave their personal life at the office door. Train managers to engage with their team, to understand their issues and help them access help.
9. Revisit policies and procedures regularly so they remain relevant and use employer assistance programme data to make improvements. Keep all your wellbeing and mental health resources in one place so that they are easy to access.
10. Train mental house champions or first aiders across the business to organise events and encourage colleagues to open up.
Taking part in Mental Health Awareness Week demonstrates an employer’s commitment to building empathetic relationships and supporting workforce wellbeing. It also brings a multitude of business benefits, including improving the working environment, reducing sick days, boosting productivity and supporting the attraction and retention of talent.
To register for Mental Health Awareness Week 2023, visit: