9 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 takes place between October 1st and 7th for 2023 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 Dropper Bottle 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.
FAQ About Mental Health Awareness Events Throughout the Year
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What can companies do for Mental Health Awareness Week, Mental Health Awareness Month and World Mental Health Day?
You may also want to post flyers citing company and public mental health resources in your breakroom and restroom, and add this same information to your employee intranet, so your staff has the information they need to reach out for help.