Three elements that contribute to a sense of mental health and wellbeing in the workplace are feeling valued, connected to others, and safe.
Mental Health Month gives us an opportunity to reach out and let people know that they matter. That they matter to us.
Design your mental health month activities with these three elements in mind, to create a culture of compassion, fun and connection.
Have a look at these activities below to find something suitable for your team:
Mental Health Month Ideas that are Quick and Low Cost
1. Hold a morning/afternoon tea to raise awareness
This is the traditional event. Provide food and they will come! But be careful with this one. If mental health and wellbeing has not been at its best lately, this can backfire and be seen as tokenistic. If you’re going to do this activity, you want to make sure you follow it up with a long term strategy, or have your Senior Exec team pledge their genuine commitment to mental health and wellbeing.
2. Register your team for the Compassion Games
A little bit of kindness can go a long way. Look at the difference it has made in the video at the website here: http://compassiongames.org/
3. Hold a ‘Lunch & Learn’ session on resilience at work
A quick and easy way to introduce the idea of positive mental health and wellbeing to a large number of employees, in a casual and laid back way. Contact us to find out about having a workplace mental health specialist attend your lunchroom in October.
4. Put posters up in the workplace
5. Tell each other what you like about them
Perhaps you write on a card for each of your team mates, or just make a point of telling them. Either way, find your way to let others know you like having them around. You never know who may really need to hear it today.
6. Engage your team in the ’10,000 Step Challenge’
The research is very clear – physical health and mental health go hand in hand. Have some fun with it by challenging your colleagues to a ‘Step Challenge’. Have participants track their steps with an iphone, fitbit, or pedometer, and log it each day. Offer a prize to the winners each week.
7. End your meetings with “proud and thankfuls”
Let your colleagues know they are appreciated, by this short ritual. At the end of a team meeting or briefing, having each person nominate one person they are thankful for, and why. You’d be surprised what a difference this can make to teamwork and connection.
8. Include an employee story in your newsletter
Have an employee who has experienced mental distress share a little bit on what helped them to feel better. Make sure the story is positive and inspirational – there’s no need to go into all the gory details. It’s even better if this is a person in a senior position. It lets people know that mental health can affect anyone, and that it’s OK to talk about it. Make sure the person is fully comfortable with talking about it.
9. Share some information or videos by email
Let people know it’s Mental Health Month, and share some information on where people can go to get help in the local area. Find some (tasteful) funny or inspirational videos and share them with others.
Mental Health Month Ideas for the Truly Committed
1. Host a ‘Wellbeing Day’ with a range of resources for all staff
This can be an annual event. Find an appropriate space and invite all staff to come along for the day/half day/short session. Set up some tables and invite local health professionals to share some information about their services (yoga, fitness, nutrition, counselling, volunteer groups, etc). Have lucky door prizes and competitions.
2. Invite a Speaker to your workplace event
Invite a mental health or motivational speaker to attend your event and start a conversation about wellbeing. Our specialists are available throughout October, so contact us for more information.
3. Launch an Online Learning Program
Online courses can be a great way to educate employees who have little time, or who are dispersed geographically. Pretty much anything can be delivered by an online format – so long as you have internet connection. This is a quick and simple way to get need to know information to your people.
4. Run some live training on mental health or resilience
Live training is the best way to learn about mental health and wellbeing. Our Workplace Mental Health Specialists
are extremely knowledgeable, yet down to earth and fun facilitators who will make sure you have a great time while learning such vital skills that you can apply at work or home, for the rest of your life.
5. Announce the roll out of your Employee Wellbeing Survey
What better way to really find out how the workplace impacts on employee wellbeing than by asking the people themselves! Of course, this has to be done carefully. Our EWS16 Assessment
uses validated measures, to help workplaces discover the true level of mental wellbeing within their specific organisation, but more importantly, to identify which activities will make the biggest difference to their employees overall. So their efforts can be channelled in the right direction.
6. Create a ‘Green Room’ space
Workplaces that are benchmarking when it comes to mental health and wellbeing are very aware of the impact of the physical environment on mental health and wellbeing. If you don’t have one, consider setting up a space that is more relaxed and laid back environment for staff to use when they like. It doesn’t have to be labelled as a ‘mental health space’, but just a nice room or area with some couches, magazines, a ‘pod’, a few plants, or whatever – be creative!
7. Put out the call for workplace champions or ‘first responders’
Just as we have designed Workplace Health & Safety Officers, so too it is recommended that workplaces have ‘Mental Health First Responders
’. These people need specialised training in how to respond to people that may be in emotional distress. They may also sit on the Wellbeing Committee and be involved in wellbeing initiatives for the organisation. It helps to ensure that initiatives are communicated and adopted organisation wide, and means that work can be distributed amongst team members.
8. Begin your ‘WELL Certification’
WELL Certification is the leading tool for advancing health and wellbeing in buildings globally. A WELL Accredited Professional can help you to achieve certification for your building, workspace or community. Contact us for more information.
So, please, let me know what you did for Mental Health Month, will you?
Author: Peter Diaz
Peter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute
. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.
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