Thursday 10 October is World Mental Health Day 2019. If you’ve been aware the date is coming up, but not had a chance to plan, I’ve got you covered. This article contains advice and guidance to share with employees.
Help yourself and do let me know how you are marking the day. You’re welcome to comment below or Tweet me @AllthingsIC.
I believe talking about mental health is too important to only communicate on one day, but if this initiative starts the conversations, I’m all for it.
What is it?
World Mental Health Day is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. It was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organisation with members and contacts in more than 150 countries. It is recognised by the World Health Organisation on 10 October every year.
The day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.
This year’s theme of suicide prevention has been set by the World Federation for Mental Health.
How to write about mental health
According to the World Mental Health Day website…
Prevention is something that we can all individually help with. A short conversation with another person can sometimes be enough to make the difference between life and death for them.
The advice ‘WAIT’ is one good way to remember how you can support another person who may be suicidal. It stands for:
Watch out for signs of distress and uncharacteristic behaviour
- e.g. social withdrawal, excessive quietness, irritability, uncharacteristic outburst, talking about death or suicide
Ask “are you having suicidal thoughts?”
- Asking about suicide does not encourage it, nor does it lead a person to start thinking about it; in fact it may help prevent it, and can start a potentially life-saving conversation
It will pass – assure your loved one that, with help, their suicidal feelings will pass with time
Talk to others – encourage your loved one to seek help from a GP or health professional
You may wish to share the graphic below, which summarises their suicide prevention advice. You can also find it online.
Other sources of help include:
- Samaritans offer a 24-hours a day, 7 days a week support service. Call them FREE on 116 123. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Papyrus is a dedicated service for people up to the age of 35 who are worried about how they are feeling or anyone concerned about a young person. You can call the HOPElineUK number on 0800 068 4141, text 07786 209697 or email email@example.com
- NHS Choices: 24-hour national helpline providing health advice and information. Call them free on 111.
- C.A.L.M.: National helpline for men to talk about any troubles they are feeling. Call 0800 58 58 58.
- Support After Suicide Partnership offers practical and emotional support on their website for people bereaved and affected by suicide.
How to write about mental health according to the mentalhealth.org.uk website
Mental health is the way we think and feel and our ability to deal with ups and downs. Mental health is something we all have. When we enjoy good mental health, we have a sense of purpose and direction, the energy to do the things we want to do, and the ability to deal with the challenges that happen in our lives.
When we think about our physical health, there’s a place for keeping ourselves fit, and a place for getting appropriate help as early as possible so we can get better. Mental health is just the same.
If you enjoy good mental health, you can:
- make the most of your potential
- cope with what life throws at you
- play a full part in your relationships, your workplace, and your community.
Your mental health doesn’t always stay the same. It can fluctuate as circumstances change and as you move through different stages in your life.
Distress is a word used to describe times when a person isn’t coping – for whatever reason. It could be something at home, the pressure of work, or the start of a mental health problem like depression. When we feel distressed, we need a compassionate, human response. The earlier we are able to recognise when something isn’t quite right, the earlier we can get support.
What does the law say?
We have a wide range of legal rights that protect our mental health at work. These range from basic human rights such as the right to freedom of expression and freedom of association, to the health and safety legislation that keeps us safe from hazards, including psychological hazards.
Source: mentalhealth.org.uk website
See their free guide to supporting mental health at work to find out more.
Useful resources to learn more about mental health at work
- Mental health at work website by Mind.
- PRCA mental health toolkit.
- A place to thrive podcast by Jo Hooper and Jo Hall.
- Jo Hooper’s Mad and Sad Club website. It includes advice and guidance following Jo’s model below…
Further reading about mental health on my blog
- How Scottish Natural Heritage focuses on mental wellbeing.
- Paws for thought – giving colleagues a voice on mental health at PDSA.
- Why we need to talk about mental health in Comms
- How to communicate Mental Health Awareness Week 2019
- The mental health epidemic facing the PR profession
- Strangers on a train – living with social anxiety, by Michael Cambell
- Why a University is offering mental health first aid
- How to understand and improve diversity – includes new PRCA guidelines
- How to stay mentally healthy if you work in comms
- What you need to know about mental wellbeing
- The challenges facing NHS communicators.
Mental health is a topic which is incredibly close to my heart. I’ve been investing in my own mental health through counselling for the past couple of years. My local mental health NHS Trust has been a wonderful support.
It’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok to ask for help. If I can, you can.
Thank you for stopping by, I hope you found this information helpful to help you plan.
First published on the All Things IC blog 6 October 2019.