World Mental Health Day falls on the 10th October every year, and this year the theme is Managing Mental Health in the Workplace. Workplaces are being encouraged to look after their staff’s mental wellbeing and talk openly about mental health with employees. For individuals, there is a focus on the value that people with mental health difficulties provide for the economy, and on raising awareness on the stigma surrounding mental illness.
The World Federation for Mental Health estimates that 1 in 5 people in the workplace experience a mental health condition. We all have mental health, and a stressful working environment, little support, and long hours, can all contribute to us becoming mentally unwell. So what can you do to support your employees or your colleagues, and how can we protect our own mental health?
Here at the Wellbeing Service, one of our colleagues takes the role of a Staff Wellbeing lead. Below are Bally’s tips for supporting a mentally well workforce:
Hi, I’m Bally and I work as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner for the Telford Wellbeing Service. As part of my role, I also help to promote self-care for our team. Self care refers to taking action to help improve your own emotional and physical wellbeing. We often associate self care outside of the workplace but research shows that promoting this in the workplace could help employees deal with daily work stress and create a better work environment.
For Mental Health Day, I thought I would share some useful tips on how to promote self care in the workplace.
1 - Find out what self-care means to your colleagues. It is useful to involve your colleagues and find out what self care means to them and what activities they would like to see. You could also find out if they have any skills or expertise they would like to share or if they know of services who could help. For our team, we just simply put up a flipchart paper with some questions and encouraged people to write down their ideas.
This is what the outside of our offices looks like at the moment - perfect for lunchtime walks
2 - Gather information. I would recommend spending some time to find out what support, information or services that are already available in your workplace – for example, does your Occupational Health Team offer health and wellbeing days or a counselling service? Find out also what is available locally in your area. One place I found helpful was the CHEC Centre, which offers a wide range of information and leaflets on health and local services. The Healthy Lifestyles Team are another service that supports people to become healthier and have come to our workplace to offer free health checks. (See below for contact details).
Biscuit decorating last Christmas
3 - Let colleagues know what is available. There are many ways you can share information with your workplace for example, through team meetings, emails or on your noticeboards. In our team, we created a self care noticeboard where people shared information about organised walks, social events, healthy lifestyles, mindfulness etc.
- Organising Self Care activities. Self care activities do not have to take up much time or cost a lot of money. Here are some of our ideas:
- Organising a team Park Run
- Offering mini health checks by the Healthy Lifestyles Team
- Arranging lunchtime walks
- Introducing simple stretches and short mindfulness practice during meetings
- Fun and creative activities such as biscuit decorating.
I hope you have found this useful and that it has given you some self care ideas to get started with!