Mental Health Awareness Week
This week provides an opportunity to emphasise the importance of prioritising mental wellbeing and fostering a supportive environment for all individuals.
What is Mental Health Awareness Week?
Mental Health Awareness Week serves as a powerful reminder that mental health is an integral part of overall wellbeing. By dedicating time and resources to address mental health challenges, organisations can create supportive environments that prioritise the mental wellbeing of their employees.
Why is Mental Health Awareness Week important?
Mental Health Awareness Week plays a vital role in dispelling the myths and misconceptions surrounding mental health, while encouraging open conversations about mental wellbeing. It aims to empower individuals to seek support, increase access to resources, and promote a society where mental health is treated with the same importance as physical health. By addressing mental health challenges, we can create a more compassionate and inclusive world.
2023 Theme: Anxiety
This year's focus on anxiety aims to raise people's awareness and understanding of the condition and provide information to help people manage it. While causes of anxiety are complex, financial worries, social isolation, social pressures, and discrimination can all play a part (The Mental Health Foundation).
Feeling anxious is a common experience and a natural response to being in situations that make us feel threatened, stressed, or under pressure. Anxiety can be beneficial in motivating us to solve problems and stay alert to potential risks. However, anxiety becomes an issue when it starts interfering with our ability to live our lives. If anxiety persists frequently, becomes intense, difficult to manage it may indicate that we are struggling with our mental health and may need to seek support. Anxiety can also impact your behaviour, leading to social withdrawal, difficulty attending work, or avoidance of specific places. Taking action to address specific sources of anxiety, such as contacting a financial advisor, discussing stress at work with your employer, or seeking help if you are experiencing harassment, bullying, or discrimination, can also help.
The relevance in 2023:
The surge in the cost of living, including heating homes, purchasing food, and electricity costs, adds financial strain, and can lead to heightened worries. During times of stress, aspects like our diet, sleep patterns and exercise routines tend to suffer.
Research by The Mental Health Foundation indicates that the cost-of-living crisis has resulted in a decline in activities that are beneficial for our mental wellbeing:
- 23% of adults in the UK meet with friends less often.
- 30% of adults in the UK have poorer quality sleep.
- Approximately 12% of adults in the UK are engaging in less frequent exercise.
The persistent worry about cost-of-living issues makes it challenging to prioritise self-care. It can feel as if there is no mental space available to take on additional responsibilities. Nevertheless, even amidst the chaotic circumstances, it is crucial to acknowledge these concerns to manage and protect our wellbeing and mental health.
How can organisations honour Mental Health Awareness Week?
- Encourage An Open Dialogue: Foster a culture of openness and acceptance by encouraging employees to share their mental health experiences and perspectives. Organise panel discussions or employee-led forums where individuals can speak openly about their journeys, struggles, and strategies for maintaining wellbeing.
- Employee Assistance Programs (EAP): Ensure that employees are aware of and have access to the mental health resources available to them, such as EAPs or mental health helplines. Promote these resources through internal communications channels and remind employees of their confidentiality.
- Support Mental Health Initiatives: Partner with mental health organisations or non-profit’s to support their initiatives. This can include fundraising campaigns, volunteering opportunities, or collaboration on awareness-raising events. During Mental Health Awareness Week 2023, The Mental Health Foundation are encouraging people to hold a ‘Wear it Green Day’ on Thursday 18 May. You can download the information pack for workplaces in the resources section in this post.
Regardless of how long you have been experiencing anxiety or the severity of your symptoms, there is always help available. Numerous treatment options exist, so it's important have a discussion with your doctor of your options.
If you are struggling with your mental health and need support or advice you can also call the Anxiety UK helpline: 03444 775 774 or if you are located elsewhere, you can find your local helpline from the international helpline directory located in our resources section.
‘Wear it green’ day information for workplaces:
Mental Health at work:
Tips on managing anxiety:
Looking after your mental health during the cost-of-living crisis:
Further information on anxiety:
Anxiety UK helpline:
Directory of International Mental Health Helplines:
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