Encouraging mental health awareness and action within the workforce

1. Recommunicate your mental health benefits and resources

Whether it is your Employee Assistance Program (EAP), tools within a wellness program, or resources available from your health plan, May is a great time to recommunicate the support you already have available to your employees. Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Send out "Did you Know" notifications about each individual resource throughout the month
  • Use positive language to encourage your support for people seeking help
  • Leverage multiple modes of communication such as email, home mailers, physical posters or signage in the workplace, social media posts, updates on intranet sites, and manager/leadership announcements during team meetings

2. Supplement your current resources with mental health awareness materials from national organizations

Communications can be made easier by leveraging ready to use documents from a variety of advocacy organizations. These user friendly campaigns can help build awareness and break down stigma within your workplace.

  • Mental Health America
    Tools 2 Thrive Toolkit with sample materials for communications as well as printable handouts that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase their resiliency, regardless of their personal situation.

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness
    You are Not Alone resources focus on connecting in safe ways, prioritizing mental health, and acknowledging that it's okay to not be okay.

  • Right Direction for Employers
    Right Direction archive of downloadable resources to help raise awareness, reduce stigma surrounding mental illness, and facilitate help-seeking behavior.

3. Highlight May 19, 2022 — National Mental Health Action Day

Promote Mental Health Action Day and lift the conversation from awareness to action. Organizations across the country are joining together to promote the first ever Mental Health Action Day and lift the conversation from awareness to action. This action day could look different to everyone, but you might consider blocking the calendar for an hour or two, a ½ day or maybe even a whole day to encourage people to take action for their own mental health. For more ideas and how to get involved, visit the Mental Health Action Day website.

4. Host an emotional wellbeing challenge

Turn your traditional physical activity minutes challenge into an emotional wellbeing challenge for a week or two in May. One option could be daily Mindful May Minutes which is spent on actions that support an individual's emotional wellbeing and mental health. For some, this may still be physical activity because movement and exercise is great for our minds. However, for others, these mindful minutes might be spent doing something else, like meditation. Allow everyone to choose what feels right for them and encourage a mental break to recharge. Set up the challenge much like you would for a physical activity challenge by having employees report in the minutes of their activity and keep track of a leaderboard. Encourage people to share what actions they take and continue breaking down any stigma around these types of activities. Some ideas for Mindful May Minutes might include:

  • Meditation
  • Meeting with a counselor
  • Laughing during lunch with a friend
  • Going for a walk
  • Coloring with your kids
  • Taking a stretch break with deep breathing

5. Share recommended educational materials and tools

Employees are often looking for new things to try or an article that contains relevant topics; even better when it comes recommended by a friend or colleague! During the month, ask employees to share their favorite resources that advocate for positive mental health. You can use an intranet site or organization-wide platform to allow people to share in real time or establish a way for them to submit their suggestions where you can monitor and manage what is shared back. By the end of the month, you could have a plethora of great resources that everyone can take advantage of. Throughout the month, you might specifically request people share the following, focused on emotional wellbeing and mental health:

  • Favorite app
  • Favorite podcast
  • Favorite book
  • Favorite documentary
  • Favorite blog/website

As you explore ways to promote mental health awareness and mental health action at your workplace, Gallagher is here to help. The Wellbeing Consulting team at Gallagher can help you with ideas for the month of May as well as dive deeper into an emotional wellbeing action plan for your organization long term. Reach out to your Gallagher consultant today to get a conversation started.