People consider May as the mental health awareness month. Yes, presently, we are in September. But, we believe it’s never too late to talk about mental health awareness. Also, mental health awareness deserves to be celebrated throughout the year, not only in a particular month.
There are many ways to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month. We have come up with suggestions for celebrating Mental Health Awareness Month both at the workplace and at home.
Mental Health Awareness Month At The Workplace
1. Learn To Talk About Mental Health
Employers should make conscious efforts to know about the mental health conditions of their employees. Go beyond a simple “Hey, how’s your day?”. Also, as an employer, you can check on your employees if you find them sad, gloomy, or isolated (well, it’s not only for a specific month).
You can seek suggestions from them on how to improve workplace culture to contribute to their mental well-being.
2. Break The Stigma
Even in the 21st century, people consider talking about mental illness a stigma. What’s the point of celebrating Mental Health Awareness Month unless you come out of the stigma?
So, organizations can arrange friendly discussions during mental health awareness month (and in other months too). Discussion topics can include:
- Personal struggles with stigma
- The common public stigma surrounding mental health
- Overcoming personal stigmatized concepts of mental health
3. Provide Tools And Resources For Mental Health
Mental health issues are more common than people consider them to be. Moreover, people in your workplace can be struggling with stress, anxiety, or trauma.
So, to help them out, you can provide tools and resources, like:
- Contact details of mental health organizations
- Online platforms dealing with mental illness
4. Treat Sources Of Work-induced Anxiety
People spend 1/3 of their life at work which amounts to 90,000 hours. Those 90,000 hours can accumulate an extreme amount of stress. What’s better than a workplace providing appropriate support?
So, in the mental health month, you can arrange a yoga day at your workplace. Call a professional yoga instructor to teach employees proper breathing techniques during exercise or yoga.
5. Raise Awareness
Minority communities are more vulnerable to facing mental health struggles. Also, during the COVID-19 pandemic, diverse employees are experiencing more mental health issues. But, they face more challenges in accessing mental health services.
So, as a form of celebratory gesture in mental health awareness month, you can raise awareness against workplace discrimination faced by minority communities. Also, this will highlight the unique struggles of such communities.
If you have diverse employees, including LGBTQ+ people, women, people of color, and even working parents or single parents, make your workplace friendly for them.
6. Learn To Unplug
We all have heard the proverb, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” To celebrate mental health awareness, you can arrange some fun activities like paintball. If paintball seems too hazardous and time-consuming, you can play other fun games at the office.
This adds a lot of fun and laughter to the otherwise mundane office environment. Sometimes, we need to remember that we are not robots.
7. Appreciate Breaks
Arrange coffee or tea breaks to break the monotony of continuous work. During these breaks, you can share your creative ideas, chat with friends, or listen to music. No one likes having their hands chained with laptops 24/7.
Also, coffee breaks work wonders in reducing mental fatigue. But, please don’t go on a caffeine overload.
8. Focus On Team Interaction
Workplaces can arrange fun-filled team activities. These surely develop bonding and usher cordial relationships among teammates.
Also, every organization thrives on teamwork. So, focusing on teamwork will do more good than you can imagine.
9. Team Up With Mental Health Organizations
You can guide your employees to have good mental health if you join hands with different organizations. You can arrange seminars to shed light on mental health topics related to the workplace.
Also, sharing screening tests is a great way to help employees learn about their mental health issues. In this regard, you can share free screening tests developed by Mental Health America.
10. Provide Support
Many companies say they support the mental and emotional health of their employees. But few do. There may be people at your workplace who are struggling with mental health.
You can give them mental support and help them get access to mental health services and treatment facilities. Nothing helps them more than letting them know your non-judgmental and empathetic side.
Mental Health Awareness Month At Home:
11. Talk About Mental Illness
People shy away from talking about mental health and mental illness. Not only this, some families consider taking mental health services disgraceful.
Have the grace to normalize the concept of mental illness. Also, when you perceive mental health disorders as treatable, children grow up as adults with a better understanding of people struggling with mental illness.
12. Focus On Mental Health Conditions Of Family Members
Don’t brush it off as something trivial if you find your family members struggling with mental health. If you see their conditions deteriorating with time, seek help from healthcare providers. But, it is worth remembering that they also need your constant support along with treatment.
Having support from family and friends is more beneficial than only attending hours of therapy. Also, you can give them resources for understanding and improving their mental health.
13. Share Personal Stories
Sharing your personal stories of mental health challenges helps others during their struggling phase. It can give them a motivational boost and strength to overcome their challenges.
As a form of celebration, you can watch movies based on true stories of mental health challenges during Mental Health Month.
14. Encourage Seeking Support
Normalize the practice of seeking support when struggling with trauma, anxiety, or depression. It also teaches the importance of healthy ways of mental health management.
It is not shameful to visit a psychologist’s office more than once a month. Individuals coping with substance use or addiction may find quitting or recovery a complicated process. They should be encouraged to quit their addiction or leave substance use under medical supervision.
15. Teach The Importance Of Mental Health Care
Many children grow up thinking there is no such thing as depression. Also, they are taught from an early age that mental health care is an unrealistic issue.
So, to prevent your children from developing such a mindset, teach them the importance of caring for the mental health of others. Also, help them acknowledge their own negative emotions.
16. Share Strategies For Good Mental Health
There are a lot of government agencies and private organizations working on mental health. They have tools and resources to guide you to understand your mental health better. You can help your family members to get access to these resources.
Also, share details of online communities that act as support groups which are a significant part of treatment for mental health. This also normalizes the concept of having mental health struggles.
Plus, when you or anyone from your family joins such groups, you will connect with people going through similar struggles. Moreover, these support groups offer effective ways for behavioral health care.
17. Suicide Awareness
Suicide is not only a health issue but also a social issue. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among young people. Besides, people with mental disorders are more prone to committing suicide.
Often, family members consider discussing suicide and mental health disorders taboo. But, discussing suicide develops social awareness. Besides, if you know someone who tends to feel suicidal, do provide them national suicide prevention lifeline and other resources.
Also, as a celebration for mental health awareness month, try asking your family members whether they have ever felt suicidal. You can have a friendly and empathetic chat about why they felt so and how they came out of that feeling.
18. Learn To Express Grief Due To Death
It is not healthy to store pent-up emotions. But, it is healthy to express grief surrounding the death of dear ones.
This releases the mental burden of accumulating negative emotions like sadness. Make it a point to ask your family members how they are coping with the death of loved ones.
19. The Active Role Of Adults
Adults play a vital role in the mental health development of children. They should not feel shame or embarrassment while talking about their mental health issues.
In addition, you can encourage children to do random acts of kindness. It can range from petting a dog to volunteering in NGOs. This is one of the effective ways to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month.
Most of these ways of celebration may not even sound like a celebration. But, celebrations do not always mean singing, dancing, going out with friends, or partying.
A celebration can happen in silence. And also, these ways of celebration are apt not only for a single month but throughout the year. Make your home and office a happy space with these ways of celebration.
Frequently asked questions:
- Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in the U.S. since 1949. Every year during the month of May, NAMI joins the national movement to raise awareness about mental health
- Talking openly about mental health can reduce the misconceptions and stigma, and can encourage those who are suffering to seek help and find a support network. It’s important for caregivers, friends, and loved ones to understand the impact that mental health has on daily life.
- The overall objective of World Mental Health Day is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health.