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9 Ideas for Mental Health Month & Mental Illness Awareness Week

published: April 29, 2020  |  updated: March 30, 2022
10 Ideas for Mental Health Month & Mental Illness Awareness Week

For over 70 years, the month of May has been dedicated to raising mental health awareness. During what is widely celebrated as Mental Health Month, organizations like the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Mental Health America, and NAMI take this time to spread knowledge and fight stigmas surrounding mental health and well-being. Other key mental health awareness events include Mental Illness Awareness Week, which take place between October 2nd and 8th this year with a theme of “Together for Mental Health”, and World Mental Health Day, which occurs on October 10th.

With the ever-changing world we live in, companies are making it a priority to promote the health and well-being of their employees. With nearly 1 in 5 adults of every age, race and gender facing mental health disorders – that’s 44.7 million working Americans according to the CDC– HR departments are uniquely positioned to encourage healthy mental and physical activities across their organizations.

National groups like the CDC recommend taking breaks from the news, meditating, taking time to relax, and connecting with family in stressful times. If you are looking for similar ideas on how to promote wellness within your organization, here are a few thought starters:

1) Wear Green During Mental Health Month

Fill the office or team video calls with a sense of togetherness by wearing green t-shirts, the ribbon color of mental health awareness. You can radiate business casual vibes for client-facing calls with custom polos or keep it cozy with a fleece jacket like the Bristol Half Zip.

2) Be Open About Mental Health

Knowledge is key. Provide information and resources about mental health and how to cope under stress. Mental Health America provides a Mental Health Awareness Month toolkit with tons of tips, infographics, information and resources for mental health that can be shared with teams. Continue to keep conversations open about mental health with mental health awareness wristlets or magnets to further break down stigmas.

3) Do Something Creative

Whether at home or the office, take a few minutes to focus on a creative activity like a stress-relieving coloring book. According to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy can be used to "explore feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, … reduce anxiety and increase self-esteem."

4) Keep It Light When You Can

Laughter is a contagious way to spread a little extra joy around the office. The Mayo Clinic cites many short-term and long-term benefits of laughing, from soothing tension to improved immune systems. A stress reliever like the Fun-To-Fidget Cube or a Brain shaped stress ball can help to lighten the mood. Other funny office gifts like socks with the boss’s face on them, or back scratchers are sure to get a laugh.

5) Stay Physically Active

With the importance of maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle, educate your employees on the values of exercise. There are many free online resources and apps that you can share!

Yoga is a great way to connect the mind and body, having been found to reduce many chronic health conditions. Add your logo to a customized yoga mat, or other fitness items like a mixing ball tumbler or exercise stretch band.

6) Have A Glass of Water – And Another!

After endorsing all of this physical activity, make sure to keep your employees hydrated. Fun water bottles or tumblers with straws make it easier to fill up on the recommended 8 glasses a day!

7) Stick to A Routine

Motivate coworkers and friends to stick to a schedule. It can help to start and end your day with things that bring you joy, whether that’s enjoying a cup of coffee, talking your dog for a walk, or trying a new recipe.

8) Find a Retreat Within your Home

It is important that everyone has their own quiet space to be alone in. Encourage employees to set up a tranquil corner of their home with a Bamboo Soy Candle, essential oil spray or other branded aromatherapy gifts.

9) Designate Time For Anxiety

It can be easy to lose track of time when every day seems to blend in to the next. Suggest your employees keep track of their activities in a journal or set fun activities ahead of schedule on a Wellness calendar so they have something special to look forward to each new day.

Mental Health Awareness Throughout the Year

May isn’t the only time to raise awareness of mental health. Mental Health Awareness Week takes place each year during the first full week of October. For 2022 the event spans from October 2nd to October 8th. It was established in 1990 by the U.S. Congress in recognition of efforts by the National Alliance on Mental Illness to educate and increase awareness about mental illness.

World Mental Health Day is Monday, October 10th, 2022. This event is an international day for mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. It was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organization with members and contacts in more than 150 countries.