We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health. How we feel can vary from good mental and well-being to difficult feelings and emotions, to severe mental health problems. The acknowledgement of mental health issues is on the rise and it’s no surprise that Mental Health Awareness Week is now a firm fixture on calendars worldwide.
Mental Health Awareness Week is organized each year by the Mental Health Foundation and takes place Monday 13th to Sunday 19th May 2019. Each year, the week is focused on a specific major issue and this year’s theme is body image.
MentalHealth.gov states that “Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices.”
Promoting positive mental health, within a place of work, can be immensely advantageous for both employees and companies alike. Employees with good mental health see increased performance, have better attendance levels and are more engaged.
A recent Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development study highlighted the impact that mental ill health can have on organisations. The study found that:
The study also found that, for the first time, stress is the major cause of long-term absence in manual and non-manual workers.
Here at Apak Group, we’re no strangers to recognizing that mental health is a key factor in keeping a cheerful workforce. In 2018 our Yate office hosted Jeremy Thomas who shared his incredible story of working as a record label manager with the likes of Jackie Wilson, Thin Lizzy, The Moody Blues and Judas Priest to almost crashing out of the music industry because of episodes of undiagnosed manic depression.
His story really hit home with the Apak staff. So much so, that we invited him back to hold a Mental Health First Aider workshop. Employees with line management responsibilities were invited to attend the session to equip themselves to recognize the signs and triggers and where to go to get help. You can find out more about Jeremy and what he can offer your company by clicking here.
2018 also saw Apak embrace Bring Your Dog to Work Day for the first time as dogs are a powerful source of social support for humans. Petting a dog has been proven to reduce stress, whether you own the dog or not. The process of patting and stroking a dog reduces blood pressure, changes your physiological state to a more relaxed mode, and makes you feel better.
Bring Your Dog to Work Day has been running since 2014 having been founded by natural pet products brand Hownd and raises money for charities dedicated to making a difference to the welfare of dogs.
Overall the day was a great success and the dogs were well behaved, very cute, and created a great atmosphere within the office with Douglas the Pug winning the Cutest Pooch Competition. I can assure you all that our office is eagerly anticipating this year's Bring Your Dog to Work Day on 21st June.
More recently, Apak Group has worked with Sarah Presley who ran a one-hour introduction for managers and then a four-hour course (across two dates) for a selection of employees across the company who felt they would benefit from a mindfulness and meditation class.
Following the sessions, we asked for feedback and the responses highlighted that felt they had learned useful techniques for focusing the mind and managing stress. As a result, we are planning to run more sessions later this month.
Moving closer towards this year’s focus of body image, we’ve been running lunchtime workplace yoga sessions. A positive body image supports physical and mental health. It can boost confidence and help people develop a healthy image of themselves.
Research suggests that it is high time new legislation is passed in all of the organizations regarding the introduction of Yoga, Meditation and soothing humour to help employees cope with workplace stress. We’ve taken great strides over the past few years to improve our options for employees to look after their mental wellbeing and will be continuing our efforts moving forward.
From 13-19 May the Mental Health Foundation will be running a body image challenge and all they’re asking you to do is simply post on social media a picture of time or a place when you felt comfortable in your own skin from any point in your life using the hashtags #BeBodyKind and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.
You can find out more about Mental Health Awareness Week by visiting mentalhealth.org.uk or alternatively you could text THRIVE to 70300 to donate £3 to the Mental Health Foundation.