Mental Health Awareness Week 2024

Mental Health Awareness Week 2024

Nowadays, every day and every week is dedicated to something. Sometimes, we raise awareness of something vitally important people need to know more about, and some days, we just celebrate something silly. Well, for us and millions worldwide, one of the most important awareness weeks is just around the corner.  

Mental Health Awareness Week 2024, an entire seven days dedicated to raising awareness about mental health’s impact on millions worldwide will be held from 13th May to 19th May 2024. This important week is not just a hashtag on X or a buzzword on Instagram; it’s a necessary reminder of the love and care we need to show our minds.  

This year, Mental Health Awareness Week’s theme is ‘Movement: Moving more for our mental health,’ what a great theme it is! Getting active and moving your body is one of the best things you can do for your mind. It doesn’t have to be going on a 5-mile run or spending an hour in the gym daily; a simple walk with the dog or dancing around the living room with the kids could do wonders.  

“We must bring the issue of mental illness out into the sunlight, out of the shadow, out of the closet, deal with it, treat people, have centers where people can get the necessary help.”

– John Lewis

How Does Exercise Help The Mind? 

If you’ve been for a walk in nature lately or done a workout (either at home or in the gym), you might have noticed that your mood was elevated afterwards, and your brain felt a bit clearer. That’s because you’ve flooded your body with feel-good hormones simply by getting your heart racing and blood pumping.  

Science tells us that there is a strong link between getting physical and feeling good.  

While exercise undoubtedly benefits our heart health, lung capacity and strength, and the well-being of our muscles and joints, its impact on our brains cannot be ignored. A simple walk around the park or playing in the garden with the kids can be the mood enhancer we need, capable of alleviating symptoms associated with depression and anxiety through the release of endorphins and serotonin.  

Swimming, jogging or even doing some DIY around the house has also been proven to supercharge our cognitive abilities, memory and decision-making skills. The increased blood flow to your brain during workouts delivers essential nutrients and safeguards your mental faculties as you age. 

In addition, physical activity can end loneliness. It doesn’t have to be done alone; in fact, many people prefer exercise when it’s done in groups. Yoga, pilates, dance, spinning, and Zumba are just some of the physical activities that can be done with friends and strangers with shared interests. These social connections play a massive role in combating feelings of loneliness and isolation. These interactions provide a sense of belonging and support and offer opportunities for laughter, camaraderie, and shared experiences—all of which contribute to a happier, more fulfilling life.   

How Can I Get My Team Involved In Mental Health Awareness Week in 2024?

Awareness days are a great way to improve team bonding. Getting your colleagues involved in Mental Health Awareness Week is the perfect way to encourage them to prioritise their mental wellbeing. Here are a few ways you can get your team involved: 

1. Run a group yoga session

Get your team together in the morning and run a short and simple yoga session. Encourage everyone to focus on their breath and the here and now. Yoga is a great way to participate in physical activity with little strain and to introduce individuals to exercises that are helpful in improving mental well-being. 

2. Enforce breaks

Make sure all staff are taking breaks from their desks and computer screens. Having fifteen-minute switchoffs allows colleagues to take time away to breathe, decompress, and focus on their needs. This could be by going on a walk, getting a cup of tea, or speaking to a friend or loved one.  

3. Early finish Friday

Can you finish early on Friday? Allowing your team to finish an hour or so early means they can get a head start on the weekend and improve their work-life balance. This free hour might mean they can collect their child from school, go out for a meal, or spend more time in nature.  

4. Hold a coffee morning

Organise a morning when you and your team can meet for coffee, tea, cake, and socialisation. Run a competition like a bake-off or fundraise for a mental health charity. These little get-togethers are a helpful way to fight loneliness and encourage communication and openness.  

5. Offer resources

Use this time to educate and provide your team with resources on where to find help if they’re struggling with their mental health. This could be via posters, emails or even face-to-face training.  

What Resources Are Available For Mental Health Awareness Week? 

If you’re looking for resources that you can utilise for your own training or for your team, there’s plenty available. Here’s just a few: 

Mental Health Awareness Training 

Investing in face-to-face or online training for your entire team on mental health awareness is good way to teach colleagues on the signs to look out for, self-care and how to provide support to those in a crisis. Training can also encourage your team to open up about their own experiences and learn ways to better take care of themselves.  

Mental Health Foundation 

The Mental Health Foundation have plenty of available resources that can be easily shared with your team, along with events you can all participate in. You can also find links to helps lines and professional support here.  

Mental Health UK 

Mental Health UK provide downloadable resources that you can share via email or even hang up on your office walls. From wellbeing plans to ‘how-tos’ on having difficult conversations, these resources are a great way to educate yourself and your team on various mental health topics.  

PMAC 

You can find a range of blog posts and informative information across our resources section for managers and employees. Help on creating inclusive offices, supporting neurodiverse staff and managing conflict amongst teams are just a few of the resources available.  

Why Are Weeks Like Mental Health Awareness Week Important? 

It might seem like we have an awareness day for everything, but we must do this.  

We can’t let the impact of mental health get swept under the rug. Awareness weeks like this are one of the best ways to destroy the stigma surrounding mental health and highlight that there is a mental health crisis worldwide and nobody is alone in their challenges.  

These weeks also provide many educational resources, not only to individuals but also to professionals. These resources and campaigns serve as a catalyst for advocacy efforts, pushing for policy changes and increased funding for mental health services. Raising public awareness helps drive social and political action to improve mental health care systems. 

Whatever you do for Mental Health Awareness Week, whether it’s a coffee morning, a few posts on your social media platforms or an email to your team reminding them your door is always open, investing some time into raising awareness of the importance of mental wellbeing means you’re playing a vital role in promoting understanding, empathy, and support for individuals living with mental health conditions.