World Mental Health Day is an annual event that aims to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilize efforts in support of mental health. Taking place on 10th October, World Mental Health Day 2023 will highlight the need for access to quality mental health care and services for everyone, regardless of their background, circumstances or location.
HR and wellbeing leaders have a key role in creating a mentally healthy workplace that respects and supports the mental health of your employees. World Mental Health Day is a great opportunity to engage your staff in activities that promote mental wellbeing, reduce stigma and discrimination, and foster a positive work culture.
Without further ado, here are some ideas for workplace activities that you can organise for World Mental Health Day 2023.
1. Host a Mental Health Awareness Session
One of the best ways to raise awareness of mental health issues and challenges is to provide your employees with information and education on the topic. You can invite a guest speaker, such as a mental health professional, an advocate or a person with lived experience, to share their insights and perspectives on mental health. Alternatively, you can use online resources, such as videos, podcasts or webinars, to deliver a mental health awareness session.
The aim of this activity is to increase your staff’s knowledge and understanding of mental health, dispel myths and stereotypes, and encourage them to seek help if they need it. You can also use this opportunity to inform your employees about the mental health policies and support services available in your organisation.
2. Organise a Wellbeing Workshop
Another way to support your employees’ mental wellbeing is to offer them practical skills and strategies that they can use to cope with stress, manage their emotions and enhance their resilience. You can organise a wellbeing workshop that covers topics such as mindfulness, relaxation techniques, positive psychology, self-care or healthy habits.
The aim of this activity is to empower your employees to take charge of their own mental wellbeing and provide them with tools and resources that they can apply in their daily lives. You can also make this workshop interactive and fun by incorporating exercises, games or quizzes.
3. Launch a Wellbeing Challenge for World Mental Health Day 2023
If you want to motivate your employees to adopt healthy behaviours that benefit their mental wellbeing, you can launch a wellbeing challenge that runs for a certain period of time, such as a week or a month. You can set different goals or tasks for your employees to complete each day or week, such as:
- Getting enough sleep.
- Eating well.
- Exercising regularly.
- Practicing gratitude.
- Connecting with others.
- Doing something creative.
- Learning something new.
The idea is to encourage your employees to try new things, challenge themselves and have fun while improving their mental wellbeing. You can also create a sense of community and competition by forming teams, tracking progress and rewarding achievements.
4. Hold a Wellbeing Roadshow
A wellbeing roadshow is an event where you invite various vendors, organisations or experts to showcase their products or services related to mental health and wellbeing. For example, you can invite:
- Mental health charities or organisations that provide information, advice or support
- Wellness coaches or therapists that offer consultations or sessions
- Fitness instructors or yoga teachers that lead classes or demonstrations
- Healthy food or drink providers that offer samples or discounts
- Art or music therapists that facilitate workshops or performances
Here at New Leaf Health, we can actually do all of this for you! We draw on our network of experienced health professionals to arrange a day that fits the needs of your workforce. Popular roadshow zones include health checks, cholesterol screening, stress and pressure management, nutrition, physical activity and more. All of these can help contribute to positive mental health.
5. Create a Wellbeing Wall for World Mental Health Day 2023
A wellbeing wall is a physical or virtual space where you invite your employees to share their thoughts, feelings or experiences related to mental health and wellbeing. For example, you can ask your employees to:
- Write positive messages or affirmations.
- Share tips or advice on coping with stress or challenges.
- Express gratitude or appreciation for someone or something.
- Post photos or drawings that inspire them or make them happy.
- Share stories or testimonials of overcoming difficulties or achieving goals.
The aim of this activity is to create a positive and supportive environment where your employees can express themselves freely, celebrate their strengths and achievements, and learn from each other. You can also use this space to display information or resources on mental health and wellbeing, including EAP and other internal resources.
6. Start a Book Club or Podcast Club
A book club or podcast club is a group of people who meet regularly to discuss a book or a podcast episode related to mental health and wellbeing. For example, you can choose a book or a podcast that covers topics such as:
- Mental health awareness or education.
- Personal stories or memoirs of living with mental health issues.
- Self-help or personal development.
- Psychology or neuroscience.
- Happiness or wellbeing.
This activity can act almost as a support group for your staff, but with a focal point to underpin the discussion. Discussing a book or podcast gives participants a platform to share their thoughts and opinions. This naturally allows the group to begin sharing their personal feelings and experiences, supporting each other as a result.
7. Support a Mental Health Cause
A mental health cause is a charity, organisation or campaign that works to improve the lives of people affected by mental health issues. For example, you can support a mental health cause by:
- Donating money or resources.
- Volunteering your time or skills.
- Fundraising or sponsoring an event.
- Signing a petition or joining a movement.
- Raising awareness or advocating for change.
Pick a cause that is close to your employees. Perhaps a local charity, or align with a campaign that has supported a staff member or their family. You could even reach out to the local community to support a cause that is important to your customers.
The main goal here is to do something positive whilst engaging staff. Supporting a good cause will help participants achieve a great sense of wellbeing and boost morale.
If you’re completely stuck for a cause to support, you can find a list of mental health charities on the Charity Choice website.
World Mental Health Day 2023 is a perfect occasion to celebrate and promote mental health and wellbeing in your workplace. By organising these activities, you can not only raise awareness of mental health issues and challenges, but also support your employees’ mental wellbeing, reduce stigma and discrimination, and foster a positive work culture.
Remember, mental health is a universal human right, and everyone deserves to live with dignity, respect and happiness.