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It’s coming up just around the corner. May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Despite the goal of raising awareness, too few people are aware that Mental Health Awareness Month exists or why there is a whole month focused on mental wellness.
Understanding mental wellness has been getting more attention than ever lately. This is particularly true of corporate wellness, where employee wellness programs need to adapt to the realities such as remote work and flexible work schedules.
This blog will explain what Mental Health Awareness Month is and how you can celebrate it through your employee wellness program.
Mental Health Awareness Month had its start with the organization Mental Health America and its founder, Clifford W. Beers.
Beers was a Wall Street financier at the start of the 20th Century who developed bipolar disorder following the death of his brother. Injured in an attempt at self-harm, Beers would spend the next three years in various hospitals. During this time, Beer’s experienced many gaps and shortcomings in the health care system with little support for those struggling with mental health issues.
In 1908, Beers published his autobiography to bring attention to the poor treatment of those who have mental illness in America. The following year, he founded the organization that would become Mental Health America.
In 1949, Mental Health America launched Mental Health Week as an initiative to educate Americans about mental illness and mental wellness. This eventually was expanded into the entire month of May, becoming Mental Health Awareness Month.
As the name suggests, MHAM intends to help promote awareness of mental illness issues and to reduce the stigma around publicly discussing these issues.
MHAM is recognized differently across various employers and organizations. However, most businesses running employee wellness programs understand that May is the perfect month to start or deepen conversations about corporate wellness.
It’s straightforward to announce to your teams that it’s Mental Health Awareness Month, show symbolic recognition, possibly to open the conversation, and then leave it at that. But of course, there’s so much more you can do to help promote MHAM among your team.
Setting aside a special day for mental wellness is one way to celebrate MHAM. This could include a day spent outdoors or a day that focuses on fun team-building activities. Team bonding activities are a wonderful way to break from work while building strong social connections.
If you prefer to get creative, you can host fun events in the office. These could involve providing an in-house masseuse for 15 minute seated massages or having art supplies for crafts or painting. You could even arrange for an on-site yoga day! Anything that lets your employees take a break and step away from their computer screens while learning skills and methods to balance their stress is a good idea.
You can also help employees share personal stories of MHAM that are meaningful to them by creating a mental wellness bulletin board (physically or virtually). Then let employees post up the charities, events, or personal stories they want to spread the word about.
One of the best things you can do during MHAM is to give your team some time off to focus on their own mental fitness. At Liberate, we offer mental fitness programs and classes that help your teams improve engagement, morale, and better mental health. There’s no better time than Mental Health Awareness Month to give your teams the tools for better mental health. Book a demo today to take your employee wellness program to the next level!
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