World Mental Health Day takes place annually on 10 October. This year’s theme is ‘mental health is a universal human right’.  

The purpose of this annual event is to raise awareness of mental health and to drive positive change. One of the main factors for this is having more conversations about mental health and wellbeing and sharing tips and resources focusing on how to look after mental health.

At Maxwell Hodge, we formally check in with our employee during our annual appraisal process, where we ask for feedback about employee mental health and if there is anything the organisation can do to better support their wellbeing. This includes asking questions about how they feel coming into work each day, whether there is anything in or out of work affecting them and how they rate their work-life balance. These questions are personal and not everyone feels comfortable answering them, but the purpose for asking them is because mental health is a workplace issue – people cannot simply forget their personal circumstances, thoughts and feelings when they come into work each day. Particularly because mental health problems are going to impact behaviour both in and out of work.

We often say in the wellbeing blogs and information we circulate, that we all have mental health and will experience highs and lows throughout our lives. We feel this underpins the meaning behind the theme, as mental health is a universal human right because we all have it and should be able access support, just like having access to medical help for our physical health.

Not everyone feels comfortable talking about mental health. However, there are tips that you can use for this. As stated by the Mental Health Foundation, you can:

  1. Talk to someone you trust.
  2. Think about the best place to talk – do you want to talk face-to-face, on a phone or video call?
  3. Prepare yourself for their reaction – not everyone is going to understand what you are going through but don’t let this put you off trying to explain what is going on.

If you want to talk to somebody about their mental health, try:

  1. Finding a private and comfortable space to talk without distractions
  2. Listening to what they are saying and ask follow up questions
  3. Asking how you can support them

We want to encourage people, including our employees, to be open and honest about any struggles or concerns they have so that we can support them as best we can. We have checked in with our employees, today on World Mental Health Day, to ask them how they are.

We also want to encourage you to try using mindfulness as a way to enhance wellbeing. This is because mindfulness can help to manage wellbeing and mental health, with research indicating positive effects on the mind, brain, body, behaviour and relationships with others (Mental Health Foundation). Mindfulness helps to keep you in the present and is therefore beneficial for people suffering from stress and anxiety in particular because you are not constantly thinking and worrying about future events. Rather, you are thinking about the here and now.

The aim of mindfulness, as explored by Mind, is to:

  • become more self-aware
  • feel calmer and less stressed
  • feel more able to choose how to respond to your thoughts and feelings
  • cope with difficult or unhelpful thoughts
  • be kinder towards yourself.

Mindfulness isn’t going to work for everyone but a lot of people find that it helps them to manage day-to-day wellbeing (Mind). There are various mindfulness exercises to try, including those as detailed here on the Mind website.

  • Mindful eating – paying attention to the taste, sight and textures of what you eat.
  • Mindful moving, walking or running – focusing on the feeling of your body moving.
  • Body scan – move your attention slowly through different parts of your body.
  • Mindful colouring and drawing.
  • Mindful meditation – sitting quietly to focus on your breathing, thoughts, sensations in your body or things you can sense around you.

Try incorporating the above into your daily life. If you are not sure whether mindfulness exercises will work for you, try them today and see how you feel.