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Are you ready for Mental Health Month
By: Michael Winter

The time is getting closer to Mental Health Month(October). It is also one of the times during the year when we begin to become busier, as we see the end of the year looming and deadlines are reappearing.

As I'd like everyone to participate in Mental health month and participate in an event or activity, I thought I's share some ideas that you might like to employ either short term or long term.

I am more than happy to help you with these if you so choose, but mote importantly, it would be fantastic to see how your workplace is transformed into a positive, proactive and mentally aware and open environment.

So here are some activities that you can employ if you are stumped for ideas. I hope you find them useful.

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.

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.

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.

End your meetings with “proud and thank you's”: 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.

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) Have lucky door prizes and competitions.

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.
Live training is the best way to learn about mental health and wellbeing: Our Workplace Mental seminars are full of knowledge, yet down to earth and our facilitators 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.

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!

Lunchtime Music Share: Bring along your favourite ‘happy’ music and have the playlist on while you share a meal with your colleagues. This is a great one to lift the mood but it works well as a team building exercise too.
Yoga and mindfulness: If you have the space, consider running a short yoga and mindfulness session for your staff. We suggest this, especially for all those working in manual labour.

Sharing opinions and ideas: This is a great way to open a dialogue on staying well at work. Grab lunch and sit down with the group to watch Shawn Achor’s Ted X Talk The Happy Secret to Better Work . It is a fantastic conversation starter, and funny too!

I would love to know what you are all doing for mental health month. It does not have to be a large investment to be well spent.

Added: 04-09-2018