What is Mental Health Awareness Week?

Mental Health Awareness week, now in its 15th year, will take place from 11th – 17th May 2015 and aims to encourage the conversation around mental health issues and to combat the stigma often surrounding it.

The week also aims at promoting good mental wellbeing with this year’s topic focusing on mindfulness.

The Mental Health Foundation

Mental Health Awareness Week is led by the Mental Health Foundation who have campaigned to end the inequalities people experiencing mental health problems face. They run research and deliver programs across the UK raising awareness and helping those in need. They have been hosting events since 2000 sparking public debates around how anxiety, exercise and sleep deprivation can impact your mental health.

They aim to inspire the development of a society free from stigma and discrimination, where everyone can achieve their potential to flourish and thrive.


Despite common misconceptions, mindfulness is not about ‘zoning out’ or emptying your mind of all your thoughts, you don’t even need to sit cross-legged wearing your bed sheets; mindfulness is about paying attention to the present moment and not worrying about the future or dwelling on the past.

Mindfulness is a mind-body approach that can help you observe the way you think and feel about your experiences, dealing with these thoughts (whether good or bad) and engaging with the present moment. It is extremely useful and can change the way you manage and react to stressful situations both in and outside of work allowing you to stay mentally healthy.

Why do we need mindfulness?

Our behaviour is affected by how we think and feel about ourselves and our lives this then has an impact on how we interact with family, friends and colleagues. Therefore it is important to be mindful as an ignorance of your current state could negatively affect your relationships with others.

It also affects our ability to make the most of the opportunities that are presented to us and is closely linked with our physical health. A study has shown that last year over 11 million working days were lost due to stress, anxiety or depression which had economic consequences estimated at £100 billion in the UK. Mindfulness has been proven to be a cost-effective, evidence-based treatment for mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety (The Mental Health Foundation, 2015).

How to be more mindful?

Here are a few changes you can make that can make you feel more connected with what is happening around you:

  • Go for a walk – taking in the sounds and the beauty of your surroundings will give your brain a break and allow you to think about the present moment
  • Get fit, have fun and raise awareness - go for run, take the dog out for a long walk or take part in a yoga class.
  • Turn off your technology – stop getting distracted by your phone when trying to concentrate on a task and instead of watching TV why not do something different that will make you feel good like taking a bath or going for a walk.
  • Try new experiences – they stimulate the mind and create new emotions and are a good break from your daily routine – go on an adventure!
  • Capturing moments – taking photos are a great way of noticing those precious moments as they pass by and allows you to be mindful of the small and important things in your life.

Get Involved!

There are lots of ways to get involved in National Health Week. Find out what is happening in your area here and get involved in local events.

Why not do some exercise – get fit, have fun and raise awareness.  Go for run, take the dog out for a long walk or take part in a yoga class.

Or why not host an event of your own? There are plenty of resources and guides available on the Mental Health Foundation website which can be found here.

If you are an employer in need of assistance with mental health issues in your workplace or any other HR issues why not give our HR team a call on 0161 476 8278 or visit our HR page to see how we can help:


“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”

Henry David Thoreau

“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand – and melting like a snowflake”

Francis Bacon Sr

Posted 11th May 2015

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