Today is World Mental Health Day and what better time than now to start thinking about how you and your team can start raising awareness of mental health issues at work. Mental health awareness is becoming a top priority for employers. Not only is the competition heating up for the best workplace perks but, studies have shown that raising awareness of mental health at work is vital for productivity and motivation. As a result, we’re seeing more and more companies implement and encourage onsite mental health initiatives such as yoga classes, massages and access to life coaches. So, if these initiatives can help people and it is ultimately good for the business, why not become a champion?
Let’s face it, it can be tricky bringing up the subject of mental health, especially at work. We’re all guilty of brushing aside our own personal wellbeing and ‘powering through’. Other challenges such as budget – especially in scaling companies – and finding ways to approach mental health within culturally diverse workplaces, need to be considered. It’s important to recognise these challenges and be realistic in terms of expectations but they shouldn’t stop you from starting the conversation, especially given the evidence that UK businesses could save up to £8 billion per year if they prioritised mental health awareness.
Here are 10 simple steps you can take to champion mental health awareness at work
1. Speak to your senior leaders or choose one in particular who you think will help - they can be an authoritative voice to the cause. Anyone can be a champion, however, support from senior leaders can help accelerate engagement.
2. When you speak to your leaders, remember to have data points to back up why it is so important to have mental health measures within the business. They have a lot of priorities and this will help push mental health to the top.
3. Have a chat with your HR or internal communications teams and organise workshops that focus on mental health, for example mindfulness workshops or yoga classes. Concirrus recently held a mindfulness workshop hosted by RLT. The workshop focused on tips for overcoming anxiety both at work and outside of work. We received encouraging feedback that it was really useful for those involved.
5. There are plenty of podcasts which focus on wellbeing and mental health such as Ferne Cotton’s ‘Happy place’. You can recommend these to your team, encourage people to share episodes that resonate with them or even organise a session to listen together and talk about it.
6. Spend time talking about things outside of work during one-to-one conversations. Studies have shown that talking about things that are non-work related has both cognitive benefits and increases engagement at work.
7. Use your work and personal networks to find people who are passionate about mental health awareness. Who knows, you may have a yoga teacher in the midst of your team that you could leverage for free!
8. Organise fundraisers on national days like today - ‘Mental Health Awareness day’ - to keep the topic top of mind for everyone in your workplace.
10. Get in contact with external companies such as Sanctus who provide mental health coaching for offices.
These are just a few of the steps you can take to become a champion of mental health awareness at work. There are plenty of FREE resources out there, so you don’t need to let budget constraints stop you from getting involved! Also, remember that it’s important to have champions for the cause at all levels, so make sure you have people to support you. Whether it's you or someone around you, there is always someone struggling with their mental health so you can make an enormous difference by creating an open environment for you and your colleagues to feel comfortable talking about mental health.
Hi, I’m Hannah, part of the Marketing Team at Concirrus and all-round supporter of company culture. I’m passionate about encouraging wellbeing and mental health initiatives at Concirrus. If you have any other great ideas around mental health and wellbeing at work, I’d love to hear from you, feel free to get in touch with me on LinkedIn!