When is World Mental Health Day?

World Mental Health Day is on 10th October; and has been running for almost 30 years, during which time openness around mental health has dramatically increased in many countries.  However, there is still a lack of equity in how mental health is discussed, managed and treated and this day helps us to recognise that this is still very much a journey.

What is This Year’s Theme for World Mental Health Day? 

The theme for the 2023, set by the World Federation for Mental Health is ‘Mental Health is a Universal Human Right‘. 

Mental health is a basic human right for all people, but one which is often overlooked. Everyone, whoever and wherever they are, has a right to the highest attainable standard of mental health. This includes the right to be protected from mental health risks, the right to available, accessible, acceptable, and good quality care, and the right to liberty, independence and inclusion in the community.

One in eight people globally are living with mental health conditions, which can impact their physical health, their well-being, how they connect with others, and their livelihoods.

How Can Your Business Support World Mental Health Day at Work?

In today’s interconnected world, where our daily lives are increasingly intertwined with our workplaces, the significance of mental health as a basic human right is more pronounced than ever. It is imperative for the workplace to acknowledge and actively support this right, as it not only enhances individual well-being but also supports productivity, fosters creativity, and promotes a just and equitable society. 

In many markets this right is supported by valuable legislation, such as the Equality Act 2010 in the UK, which supports those with protected characteristics. But structures and systems over and above this are essential to promote this right universally in workplaces, irrespective of formal diagnoses.

The workplace has a critical role to play in making this vision a reality; developing a strategy, supporting with policy and procedure and ensuring managers and employees are trained, not just in awareness, but also in the skills to have open, non-judgemental conversations and signpost to support if needed.

There are also many tactical activities that can support this work and here are a selection of our favourite ideas:

Research shows that talking is good for our mental health. The Mental Health Foundation’s  ‘Tea & Talk’ events are intended to be broad and inclusive, encouraging a conversation about anything. You can host your event any time you like. You can do it virtually or meet up in groups and even incorporate a bake-off.  

The money you raise for the Mental Health Foundation will help them to continue working towards good mental health for all.  So far, they have produced multiple resources on managing your mental health, which have been accessed by over 1.1 million people worldwide and translated into seven different languages.

The ‘how-to’ guides around mental health are available for individuals to help them support and manage their own mental health. Learn more.

Green Ribbons are a symbol of awareness and support around mental health. In purchasing them you are donating to the Mental Health Foundation. Learn more.

If you have an Employee Interest Group or a network of MHaW Allies®, who have a role as expert listeners and signposters, then this is an ideal opportunity to ask them to lead events around themes that are important in your workplace today. This could be a series of 1:1 wellbeing check-ins, launching Personal User Guides, so colleagues can find out a bit more about each other, share personal stories, ‘masterclass’ style events on a particular aspect of workplace mental health, guidance on how individuals can manage their own mental health and even visual installations to represent how mental health impacts your workplace. Contact us if you’d like to find our more about the benefits of working with an independent partner to launch a programme.

How to Encourage Open Conversation in the Workplace 

World Mental Health Day can be another opportunity to remind your workplace about the need for open conversation and promote  signposting and support that is available.

This can include your Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), private healthcare, Samaritans and local Mind branch. This idea can be a focus for an event in its own right or part of a broader programme involving speakers and employees focussing on the elements of mental health support that have been important for them. See below for more information on how to access our free Global Signposting Guide.

If you are holding a team meeting in October, consider starting with a wellbeing check-in, asking everyone to share how they are feeling at that moment and ban the descriptor, ‘I’m fine’. The role of the team is to listen, not to offer solutions.

Mental Health Workshops for Employees 

Mental Health at Work have a suite of programmes that can be customised to your organisation to help raise openness and understanding and help anyone who manages mental health and part of their role, including line managers and senior leaders.

Furthermore, our MHaW Allies® programme has been developed to encourage preventative conversations about mental health as early as possible, before they become an issue or crisis, through establishing a network of trained resources, available to listen and signpost, when and where it is needed in your workplace.

Make a Difference in Your Workplace with Mental Health at Work

The critical message for the workplace is that we need to have early, open conversations about mental health. The kindness of starting that conversation might make a difference and lead to the signposting and support that is needed; or the conversation itself might be enough.

We know this isn’t easy, but we have been working since 2016 to help organisations overcome this hurdle. Please get in touch if you would like to find out more about how we can support your organisation.

Free WMHD Global Signposting Guide

To recognise and help promote World Mental Health Day and this year’s theme of “Mental Health is a Universal Human Right”, we have created a comprehensive signposting guide with global resources and links to help support understanding and awareness around mental health around the world. This is available here

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