12 Awesome Ways to Celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month kicks off in May 2022.

Work from home is here to stay beyond the pandemic. As a consequence, mental health and wellbeing are a priority for both remote and hybrid employees.

It is where we spend the majority of our time, earn our living, and frequently make our friends. Having a satisfying career can benefit one’s mental health and overall wellbeing.

We must maintain that benefit by addressing mental health at work for individuals who already have problems, those at risk, and the entire workforce. This gives the organization long-term benefits in the form of sustained high productivity and engaged employees who are inspired at work and satisfied with their employment.

We believe in creating work environments in which everyone can succeed. Employers, employees, and enterprises all have a role in developing thriving communities as they plan an active role in the work ecosystem.

Mental health and management are inextricably linked. There is compelling evidence that businesses with high levels of employee wellbeing perform better.

12 ways to celebrate mental health awareness month in the workplace

What is Mental Health Awareness Month?

The theme for 2022 is Together for Mental Health.’

May 2022 is all about showcasing the relationships between communities and social support systems in the aftermath of a global pandemic that decimated community bonds and social support systems.

Mental Health Awareness Month aims to:

  • Educate and raise public awareness
  • Confront stigma
  • Advocate for mental health policies
  • Provide Support
  • Eliminate barriers to care for people with mental illness

While the entire month of May is dedicated to mental health awareness, World Mental Health Day also comes on October 10th, as regulated by WHO. Mental health awareness in the workplace is a high focus these days, and for good reason.

Employers have also recognized that cultivating a wellness culture is not just about making a nice gesture. It becomes a fundamental component of a wellbeing strategy necessary for healthy and happy team members.

Why Raise Awareness About Mental Health in The Workplace?

Promote Wellbeing & Positive Mindset

Making sure that employees enjoy a healthy work-life balance is the first step in promoting wellbeing and positive headspace at work. It begins with establishing clear boundaries around technology and its availability.

Additionally, guidelines must be set regarding taking breaks throughout the day and adhering to regular work hours if possible.

Ensuring Employees Feel Safe & Supported

Employees that feel safe and supported within their team channel their energy positively. They are not concerned with themselves or their position, which frees them to act in the organization’s and team’s best interests.

Reduced Productivity Due To Poor Mental Health

Based on research from the American Psychiatric Association, employees with untreated mental health issues lose 35 percent of their productivity, costing the US economy $210.5 billion each year in absenteeism, reduced productivity, and medical costs.

Mental health issues such as anxiety can impair concentration, making it extremely difficult to multitask and do regular professional tasks. Additionally, an employee’s stamina may be impacted, making work deadlines more difficult to complete.

person feeling stressed whilst working on a laptop
Stress and mental wellbeing issues are a global problem

Increased Isolation For Remote & Hybrid Employees

A person suffering from mental health problems may find it difficult to interact with people and hence isolate oneself. This results in a significant blocking of communication, which means that any potential concerns that go unaddressed may create long-lasting damage in the future.

Equally, people working from home due to COVID-19 have had to adjust to working remotely, which discourages collaboration and forces them to work in isolation.

The Cost Of Mental Illness For Companies

Stressed-out employees cost businesses much money in the long run. According to an infographic prepared by Eastern Kentucky University’s Occupational Safety program, companies spend roughly $300 billion annually on missed workdays and health care due to workplace stress. That’s a considerable sum, and it doesn’t even consider the lost productivity of disengaged workers.

Team Bonding in the Workplace During MHAM

Fun activities are a workplace staple to encourage communication and cohesion. However, using the same strategies can be an excellent way to promote mental wellbeing, too.

How To Support Employees In The Workplace

For Remote/Hybrid Teams:

1. Involve leaders

Mental health is just as critical as physical health — and the message must come at the top.

2. Encourage physical exercise throughout the workday

Exercise has been shown to boost mental health. Managers should encourage their workers to incorporate physical activity into their daily routines. Take action by providing monthly employee wellness programs such as Office Yoga Class every Friday afternoon or joining a virtual breath-work session.

two people running on a trail in a park
Walking or running, getting outdoors is always a great idea

3. Allow time for virtual socializing but no pressure

Schedule some optional social time for a catch-up coffee break, a 4 p.m. happy hour, a team lunch (extra credit for sending food delivery gift cards), a group watch party or crafting session, or even online game time with small prizes.

4. Give Honest Recognition

While employee appreciation is not a substitute for mental health therapy, genuine, honest acknowledgment from the employer can feel good. Employees are doing all possible to adapt to new working methods in highly demanding situations. Simply writing a thank-you message or expressing appreciation to someone in person can significantly impact.


For Traditional Office Teams:

1. Offer flexible working

This allows employees to balance their personal and professional lives. It could entail, for example, starting early and finishing late, with time off during the day to manage home and family responsibilities. A flexible schedule can also help some employees be more productive.

2. Promote access to mental health resources through communication

Mental health benefits and community resources should not wait until open enrollment. Consider putting them in your monthly newsletters.

Make sure that your Executives always emphasize emotional wellbeing when they talk about recruiting talent and creating an inclusive culture that helps workers bring their best selves to work. Educate employees about mental health and resilience through workshops.

3. Prioritize Wellbeing

Consider having a meditation room, mindfulness training, and/or yoga classes available at the workplace. Create opportunities for employees to build connections with each other through social events or team building activities.

A person performing yoga
Engaging in physical exercise can improve your mental health

Team Building Activities for Mental Wellbeing

Virtual team building exercises are an excellent strategy to promote workplace mental health. They allow remote teams to socialize and get to know one another. It can assist in alleviating stress and fostering a more positive work environment.

Additionally, virtual team-building exercises can help remote teams develop a stronger sense of connection to their job and coworkers, resulting in enhanced productivity and creativity. Consider hosting virtual team-building events if you’re seeking strategies to boost mental health in your remote team!

These activities are what came up when we thought of what can help your team relax, unwind, recharge, and reconnect.

1. Mindful Tai Chi for Stress Relief

Tai chi was invented many years ago with graceful motions that focus on balancing the energy of yin and yang, benefiting both the mind and soul and the body. It consists of movements and breathing exercises that are both slow and focused. It’s a self-paced, non-competitive method of stretching and light physical training. As you move from one posture to the next, your body will constantly move.

The practice is currently utilized to treat stress and several other health problems. Tai chi, which is frequently referred to as “meditation in action,” promotes peace and healing through soft, flowing motions. Tai chi classes will be taught in English by our professional tai chi master, available in both English and Chinese. Attendees are encouraged to wear flats or sports shoes.

The lesson will consist of the following:

A brief talk on Tai Chi and its health benefits and how Tai Chi may be used in the workplace and interpersonal relationships.

  • A gentle warm-up.
  • Following the encounter, you will be able to perform two breathing exercises. These exercises are ideal for doing during a break at work or during the day.
  • One-on-one exercises: (This is the most remarkable part!) This section will look at how Tai Chi can be applied to your life at work or home. You will discover how to relax in times of conflict and how this might benefit our interpersonal relationships. We learn to let go!

2. Pet Show and Tell

People adore discussing their own and others’ pets. Thus, this activity is an ideal ice breaker for virtual teams that are not yet incredibly outgoing with one another. To begin:

  • Have everyone in the chat send a picture of their pet if they have one.
  • Then, when the team building activity begins and everyone is ready to play, have each team member assign a personality to their colleagues’ pets based on their appearance. For example: Is Pedro the cat a criminal who indulges in too many video games? Is Danny the dog a good guy with a job in marketing and a gym membership six days a week? Probably not, but discussing it is fun, and it also allows coworkers to fantasize and stimulate their creativity.

3. Fix Your Desk Posture

Most of us slouch at least once during the workday while clicking through our laptops or scrolling through our phones. It has resulted in the modern phenomena known as “tech neck” and rounded back position.

Over time, this unconscious habit of slouching damages the lower back. Suppose you’ve grown accustomed to a dull, nagging tightness in your back, particularly after a long day at the desk. Relax your back and fix your desk posture!

The state of our physical health is inextricably tied to our mental health. One can influence the other, so, it is important to highlight full-body wellness during Mental Health Awareness Month.

This session combines mobility and strength training and is ideal for desk job workers with rounded shoulders, tight necks, and inactive glutes.

4. Virtual Art Sessions

Did you know that engaging in the arts can help you cope with stress and enhance your mental health regardless of your skill level? Boost your team’s creativity by hosting a virtual paint or do-it-yourself party.

This activity is also appropriate for a small budget. It’s as simple as allocating funds for employees to purchase a few inexpensive art items, organizing a Zoom call, playing some music, and assigning everyone to draw, paint, or make something.

After the session, conduct a vote to allow participants to select the winning piece and arrange for the winner to receive a modest, fun award.

5. Mindfulness Japanese Tea Ceremony

Did you know that Zen Masters favoured matcha for a few reasons?

  • It kept them awake and alert throughout extended periods of Meditation
  • they were aware that it possessed valuable medical characteristics, which we now have a firm grasp on scientifically

In this virtual exploration of Zen and Matcha Philosophy, we’ll discuss the history of Japanese tea ceremonies and how to apply Zen philosophy to maintain calm in the modern world.

This experience is perfect for virtual team building in Singapore (ceremonial grade matcha and tools delivered to all guests).

6. Secret Banta

Taking a break from work and engaging in a chat with a coworker is something we all need to be reminded to do occasionally. Inspired by Time to Change, Secret Banta is intended to encourage people to step away from their desks and engage in some self-care or general conversation. It promotes bonding, trust-building, and dialogue. These are critical tools for reducing the stigma associated with mental health.

Each participant picks a colleague’s name (you can use a Secret Santa generator to do that virtual team building). Rather than a present, coworkers should give each other encouragement in the form of something meaningful. An online photo album, a video of your best moments, a list of all their witty catchphrases, and a flowchart indicating what they’re best at are all examples. Colleagues share their time and effort rather than money by making the activity accessible.

This benefits your emotional well-being, but it also helps develop interpersonal interactions among your remote team!

7. Virtual Breathwork & Meditation

Breathing is the most under-utilised and straightforward method for enhancing our health, focus, and happiness. Breathwork & Meditation class teaches you breathing exercises that might help you manage your attention and focus better.

Many people are unaware that they spend most of their day engaged in shallow breathing. This breathing activates the sympathetic response — the emotions experienced during times of stress. Breathwork therapy uses slow, regulated breathing techniques to teach patients to relax and be happy.

Choose a rejuvenating 30 or 60-minute session for your team based on their schedule. Your team will be guided through the principles of functional breathwork by your very own meditation instructor.

8. WFH Bingo

We may either complain about the ups and downs of working from home, or we can laugh about it while playing bingo! It’s up to you to create your template, of course. It must be relatable.

This is a great way to wind down after a long and exhausting day at the office and enjoy lighthearted fun with your coworkers.

person playing mental wellness bingo on a mobile device

9. Trip Down Memory Lane

This virtual team-building activity is ideal for remote teams that were recently introduced to or relocated to work together and haven’t had the opportunity to interact and get to know one another.

Make a collaborative global map and share the URL. While on a teambuilding call, have everyone mark their birthplace, first school, first pet, where they met their significant other, and many more. A brief narrative from the colleague should accompany each area shown on the map.

It can be much fun and help bring the team together!

10. Virtual Trash Challenge

The ‘Trash Challenge,’ in which people take a snapshot of a polluted public area like a beach or park, clean it up, and then take another photo afterward, is fantastic! Many people have been encouraged to launch a virtual trash challenge with their teams due to it.

For remote teams, why not declutter your working space or your computer desktop to increase productivity? Take a before and after cleaning up photo of your working space or your computer desktop. A fresh-looking and polished working space brings in positive energy and promotes focus and efficiency.

11. Random Message of Kindness

This is quite simple – each team member writes and sends a positive message about another team member to the organizer. The messages can then be anonymously compiled and published on your shared communication channel or a Kudoboard.

It’s an excellent thing to do after reaching the team’s milestones (both large and small) and appreciating one another’s efforts.

12. Virtual Talks & Lunch

Doing virtual talks while having lunch together has grown in popularity. For a good reason – they provide an open, casual learning environment and enable staff training without disrupting a typical workday. Therefore, why not conduct a survey to determine which topics your team believes would help their mental health? And then hire a speaker to provide a talk.

The wonderful thing about virtual talks is that you are not restricted in selecting speakers by region!

Everyday Strategies to Promote Wellness in Your Office

Connecting with others, being prepared, having a night of adequate sleep, calming the mind, moving the blood, giving back, getting outside, relaxing the body, and finding mental focus are at the top. Here are some simple, tech-savvy ways to explore during Mental Health Awareness Month:

For Remote/Hybrid Teams

Go Meatless Monday

The average American consumes 102.5 pounds per year, more than almost any other country. Our meat-heavy diets have been associated with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases and cancer and cardiovascular disease. Encourage your team to go meat-free at the beginning of the week to help overcome the meat addiction.

a bowl of fruit and vegetables to promote mental wellness
Eating whole fruit and vegetables can promote our mental wellbeing

Start Wellness Wednesday

Wellness Wednesday is a terrific idea because it falls in the middle of the week when most employees are at their most productive. One day a week seems much easier (and less overwhelming), and it can be a way to start living a more healthy life.

Each person’s contribution to Wellness Wednesday can be hard to track. With an employee recognition platform like Nectar, you can add individual and team challenges to help you manage and grow this type of project. You can do this by adding challenges to the platform. Nectar’s program encourages participation and automatically rewards people who participate in a way that everyone can see.

Share Laughter

Increase employee wellbeing through shared laughter, which releases endorphins and fosters connection! According to Michael Miller, a cardiologist mentioned in the New York Times, “having a healthy sense of humor is a fantastic strategy to cope with stress and anxiety during difficult times.”

Laughter On Call uses shared laughter to build connections and ease stress. The experience allows people to express themselves authentically, liberate their imagination, and feel genuine human connection using fundamental techniques from both Improv comedy and Stand Up comedy.

Take Small Opportunities

When it comes to promoting wellness in your company culture, start small and don’t waste those small opportunities.

  • Build a culture of connection through check-ins. “How are you today?”, “Is your workload manageable this week?”, “How would you like to be supported today?”. Before the meeting, it’s a good idea to ask how things are going. Keep in mind that having a good relationship is important for mental health.
  • Use a virtual background with a kind message. Let the background do the talking for you and set the space. For Mental Health Awareness Month we are creating free, customised virtual backgrounds for teams and companies. See below!
  • Send a small note of appreciation when you wrap up a task or meeting, synchronous or asynchronous. “Hey! Thanks for collaborating on this–glad we could get this done so quickly. I enjoyed the process of working with you.”

For Traditional Office Teams:

Communicate more than you think is necessary

A study from HBR, found that employees who believed their managers were poor communicators were 23 percent more likely than others to experience mental health declines after the pandemic. Maintain communication with your team regarding any organizational changes or updates.

Clarify any changes to work hours and standards. Reduce stress wherever possible by setting realistic expectations for workloads, prioritizing what must be accomplished, and recognizing what can be delegated when required.

Take your team for a walk around the neighborhood

Walking promotes both relaxation and regeneration at the same time. An easy walk around the block during lunchtime can help alleviate stress, fatigue, and anxiety. Your team also benefits from the opportunity to converse and socialize outside of the office.

Team Lunches

Team lunches build friendships, and those friendships have an impact on our overall well-being. It’s better to work with friends than to work alone any time of the day or night. Bring everyone out of the office for some informal chats that are not about contracts or deadlines. These small outings could be a priceless addition to your monthly (or even weekly) wellness strategy.

Practice Mindfulness at Work

Workplace stress is getting real with email, intra-office chat tools, and social media continuously fighting for our attention. When we’re constantly bombarded with information, it’s easy to feel anxious and disconnected, which can lead to problems in our personal and professional lives.

One way mindfulness can support is by enhancing our ability to focus. When we are continually juggling multiple tasks, the quality of our work can decrease. By repeatedly returning to the present moment with mindfulness, we can teach ourselves to become more focused.

take a social media break during Mental Health Awareness Month
Take a day away from social media

Invest in Employee’s Wellbeing

When businesses engage in preventative and supportive mental health solutions, even a small amount goes a long way. Employees should not have to travel to access services to prevent, manage, or relieve stress in today’s digital world and during today’s crises.

By combining in-person and digital technologies, employers can provide employees with a number of options and ensure they receive the appropriate help at the appropriate time. Employers can invest in a variety of initiatives, including but not limited to the following:

  • Providing employees with additional breaks during the workday or mental health days
  • Extending coverage for mental health as part of employee incentives
  • Engage in team building activities that focus on employee’s health and wellness
  • Offering complimentary access to treatment sessions or stress management apps

Mental Health Resources

Team Bonding Activities

Here is a summary of team bonding activities for Mental Health Awareness Month for easy reference.

Price fromGroup SizesType of Event
Mindful Tai Chi$15/person10 to 200Hosted, virtual
Fix Desk Posture$12/person10 to 200Hosted, virtual
Virtual Breathwork and Meditation$14/person10 to 200Hosted, virtual
Mindful Japanese Tea Ceremony$20/person10 to 200Hosted, virtual

Mental Health Apps

These mental health apps allow you to access their features at any time, search for therapists and treatments anonymously, and provide a variety of ways to stay involved, such as daily reminders, mood trackers, and an abundance of educational information. Mental health apps are intended to replace the services of a certified therapist. However, they can be beneficial in assisting you in managing your mental health concerns and treatments.

These mental health apps allow users to access their features at any time, search for therapists and treatments anonymously, and provide a variety of ways to stay involved, such as daily reminders, mood trackers, and an abundance of educational information.

While not all of these mental health apps are intended to replace the services of a certified therapist, they can be quite beneficial in assisting users to manage their mental health concerns and treatments.

Mental Health Helplines

Singapore

ResourcesWhat is it for?Contact
Hotline/Samaritans of Singapore (SOS)Provides emotional support for individuals having difficulty coping during a crisis, thinking of suicide, or affected by suicide.Tel: 1800-221 4444 (24 hours)

Email: pat@sos.org.sg
Mental Health Helpline/Institute of Mental HealthOpen to anyone who comes into contact with individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis.Tel: 6389 2222 (24 hours)

USA

ResourcesWhat is it for?Contact
911 Emergency NumbersIf you or someone you know are in immediate danger, call 911.Tel: 911
National Suicide Prevention LifelineIf you or a loved one are in distress and thinking of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for free and confidential 24/7 support, information, and resources. You are not alone.Tel: (800) 273-8255
State Crisis LinesState public mental health systems provide local crisis support services and operate local crisis lines.Depends on the states of choice

UK

ResourcesWhat is it for?Contact
National Suicide Prevention Helpline UKOffers a supportive listening service to anyone with thoughts of suicide.Tel: 0800 689 5652 (open 24/7)
SANElineIf you’re experiencing a mental health problem or supporting someone else, you can call SANElineTel: 0300 304 7000 (4.30pm–10.30pm every day)

FAQ About Mental Health

What is Mental Health?

The way we think and feel and our ability to deal with ups and downs are all aspects of mental health. Everyone has the right to good mental health. When our mental health is in tip-top shape, we are better able to accomplish the goals we set for ourselves and face the difficulties that life throws our way.

For our physical health, we know there is a place to keep ourselves active and a place to obtain the proper care as soon as possible so we can recover. Mental health is the same.

What defines a mental health problem?

We all have times when we are depressed, stressed, or fearful. While these feelings usually pass, they might develop into a mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression, which can negatively influence our everyday lives. Mental health problems can grow complex for certain people, necessitating ongoing support and therapy.

How do I identify a mental health issue?

Mental health problems can manifest themselves in a variety of ways. Work can make us feel more drained than usual. Making blunders out of character, being unable to inspire ourselves, losing track of time, or becoming easily irritated.

Another sign is appearing or feeling exhausted. We may discover that we are isolating ourselves, avoiding coworkers, or seeming inattentive. We could either postpone more or come to a complete halt. Another option is to work faster or more frantically than we can, disrupting the flow of others’ conversations and work.

Why aren’t people discussing mental health?

While public awareness of mental health is growing, we still live in a world where persons with mental health disorders experience discrimination and may have difficulty accessing needed services.

Many people who are distressed attempt to conceal their emotions out of fear of the reactions of others.

Fear of prejudice and feelings of humiliation are two of the most frequently cited reasons for not disclosing mental health problems to coworkers.

How to support Mental Health at Work?

Workplaces must become places where people feel comfortable being themselves. When we foster workplace environments that allow people to be themselves, it becomes easier for them to speak openly about mental health difficulties and seek treatment when they need it.


Final Thoughts

Today, mental illness is the world’s significant economic burden. Only about half of people in developed countries suffering from a mental illness receive the necessary treatment. In underdeveloped countries, the number is closer to 90%.

The stigma associated with mental illness and a lack of mental health awareness worsen pre-existing mental health issues. Hence, it’s important to #breakthestigma and raises awareness about mental health issues to make more resources available to individuals in need.

Employees are required to be mentally present at work, not just physically. Team leaders must understand that mental and physical health is equally important. Indeed, the two are intricately related. Together, they contribute to a complete understanding of what “being well” entails.

Happier employees contribute to healthier firms. Through team-building experiences, employers can boost morale and create better engagement.

At RandomDots, we design team-building experiences to help remote teams bond and form long-term connections. While one of the motivations for fostering a more productive and collaborative work environment, a secondary benefit is an opportunity for friendships to grow within the team. Healthy relationships, combined with work-life balance and mindfulness, can improve mental health in the workplace.

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