Since 1949, individuals and organizations have come together each May for Mental Health Month to raise awareness of mental illness, confront stigma, and provide education to the public. This year, we partnered with Waves of Wellness Foundation (WOW), an Australian mental health charity providing surf therapy, to talk about mental health in the workplace.
The importance of mental health awareness
It is estimated that 1 in 5 adults have a diagnosable mental illness and only 44% of individuals receive treatment for their mental health condition. Though awareness of mental health has grown in recent years, studies show that there still remains a stigma and a lack of education around this topic. With greater awareness of mental health conditions, advocacy, and treatment options, those suffering from mental illness can receive the support they need. Greater awareness also helps fight stigma surrounding mental health and can improve the number of resources and support offered to those with mental health conditions.
How to promote mental health at work
The workplace provides an excellent opportunity to promote mental health awareness and create a culture of respect and acceptance between employees. Many organizations actively offer employee wellness programs aimed at improving workplace satisfaction, but individuals can always encourage positive mental health practices day-to-day. Waves of Wellness Foundation shares six pieces of advice for how to promote mental health in the workplace:
- Connect with colleagues: Provide non-work-related chats and open meetings with an ice-breaker question that allows people’s personalities to shine.
- Get outside: Take a meeting in a park and flip the office environment to promote new energy and ideas.
- Be transparent: Encourage leadership to show vulnerability, be open about struggles, and normalize taking mental health days.
- Take action: Combat employee burnout by encouraging self-care, teaching staff how to complete mental health check-ins, and looking out for signs that someone isn’t doing so well.
- Show respect: Listen and show that you’re listening by validating feelings and not jumping in with solutions.
- Be kind: Compliment people on their work and celebrate the wins.
About Waves of Wellness Foundation
The mission of Waves of Wellness Foundation is to empower all through innovative mental health support. Their charity helps promote positive mental health for individuals through a variety of surf therapy programs, including Surfing Experience and Sand N’ Surf, and their Workplace Wellbeing programs.
WOW uses FormAssembly to register participants into one of their free mental health surf therapy programs, receive interest from volunteers who want to donate their time, or as part of their employment recruitment process. Their forms are linked to Salesforce to simplify tracking, monitoring, and managing the information obtained. WOW also uses FormAssembly as part of program operations from pre- and post-program surveys to logging incident reports.
Mental health awareness resources
To learn how to get involved with WOW, please visit their website. To discover other ways you can help promote mental health awareness in your own community, visit the website of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health America.