Mental Health Awareness Week 2024

Written 14th May 2024 by Ruth Peters

During Mental Health Awareness Week 2024 which runs from 13th to 19th May this year, the imperative to prioritise mental well-being has never been more pronounced. In the wake of global challenges and societal shifts, the importance of mental health in the workplace has risen to the forefront.

Employers play a pivotal role in fostering an environment that supports the mental well-being of their staff. So how can employers step up and champion mental health during this significant week and beyond?

Creating a Culture of Openness

The cornerstone of any mental health initiative in the workplace is fostering a culture of openness and destigmatisation. Employers can facilitate this by encouraging open conversations about mental health, providing resources for education and support, and leading by example through transparency and vulnerability.

At Olliers our Senior Management Team operate an “open door” policy and believe they are approachable to discuss problems. All colleagues have fair and equal opportunities to develop.

Prioritising Work-Life Balance

In today’s fast-paced world, the boundary between work and personal life often blurs, leading to increased stress and burnout. Employers can support their staff by promoting work-life balance initiatives such as flexible working hours, remote work options, and encouraging employees to take regular breaks and vacations.

This year’s theme is “Movement: Moving more for our mental health” and Movement is a great way to enhance our wellbeing. A short burst of brisk walking can boost our mood and increase our mental alertness and energy. Movement helps us feel better about our bodies and improve self-esteem. It can also help reduce stress and anxiety and help us to sleep better.

If you’d like to get moving more, the guide on the Mental Health Awareness Week website will give you some ideas to get started found here.

Providing Accessible Support Services

Access to mental health support services is crucial for employees facing challenges. Employers can offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), counselling services, and mental health resources to ensure that support is readily available and easily accessible to all staff members.

Olliers subscribes to the Health Assured Employee Assistance Programme: staff and family members have free, confidential access to professional counselling services on a wide range of issues causing them difficulties. 

The Mental Health Awareness Week website has numerous resources available which are free to download, and their most popular publications are also available to buy in print. The publications are used by businesses and organisations across the UK, helping thousands of people manage and maintain their mental health.

Training Managers and Leaders

Managers and team leaders play a pivotal role in shaping the work environment and supporting their team members’ mental health. Providing training and resources to equip managers with the skills to recognise signs of distress, have empathetic conversations, and effectively support their team members is essential.

Promoting Well-being Initiatives

From mindfulness sessions to yoga classes, employers can introduce a variety of well-being initiatives to support their staff’s mental health. These initiatives not only promote stress reduction and relaxation but also foster a sense of community and camaraderie among employees.

At Olliers we have a dedicated Head of Wellness to oversee the creation and implementation of our wellness programme organising fortnightly wellbeing activities allowing for relaxation away from work. 

During 2023 these trips included:       

• Trip to the historic John Rylands Library

• Numerous country walks 

• Trip to the ‘Golden Mummies’ – Manchester Museum Egyptian exhibition

• Castlefield Viaduct- “Park in the sky” visit

• Manchester Law Society annual quiz

• Visit to the National Football Museum

• Trip to the RHS Bridgewater Gardens

• Art event at the Manchester International Festival: “You, me and balloons”

• Walk on the Dark Peak heather upland

• Annual Lawshare quiz event

• Puppy Yoga session

These activities are all free to staff; many take place during office hours. We are convinced that employees’ mental health, plus employer/ employee relationships, staff interpersonal relationships and inclusion are all enhanced by these activities. 

Flexible Policies and Accommodations

Recognising that mental health challenges can impact individuals differently, employers should implement flexible policies and accommodations to support employees’ diverse needs. This may include accommodations for employees with mental health conditions, such as flexible work arrangements or adjustments to workload and deadlines.

At Olliers we employ many staff with caring responsibilities many of whom have flexible working patterns.

Regular Communication and Feedback

Effective communication is key to understanding the evolving needs and concerns of employees regarding mental health support. Employers should regularly communicate with their staff about available resources, upcoming initiatives, and seek feedback to continuously improve their mental health initiatives.

Conclusion

Mental Health Awareness Week 2024 serves as a poignant reminder of the critical role employers play in fostering a supportive and nurturing work environment for their staff. By prioritising mental health, creating a culture of openness, providing accessible support services, and implementing proactive initiatives, employers can make meaningful strides towards promoting mental well-being in the workplace. As we navigate the complexities of the modern world, let us pledge to prioritise mental health not only during this awareness week but every day thereafter.

Ruth Peters

Ruth Peters

Business Development Director

Manchester

Head Office

London

Satellite Office

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