Awareness without action means nothing. This blog will look at what charities and those in the mental health community are calling on the government to do along with how you can get involved. 

How TO TAKE ACTION FOR MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK 2021

"Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 Nature" bubble text surrounded by birds and flowers and a green ribbon.

 Yesterday I broke down the Mental Health Foundation’s report and some of the policy recommendations for the government.

 Today I want to focus on what we can all do to support mental health and actually make a difference.

 This blog will look towards our individual actions, those of employers, along with what organisations are calling on the government to do.

So here is what you can do right now.

Be there

The simple, most important thing on my list is to be there for someone who is struggling right now. 

Check in with someone, ask if they’re okay. Encourage them to open up if they’re not.

This isn’t about trying to fix people or make everything better. You’re not expected to do that. Instead, it’s about simply listening and being present with someone. Helping show them they’re not alone, and there are people out there (like you) who care about them.

Make Yourself Open

Help raise awareness during these events. Support the charities and advocates. Share a graphic yourself. By getting involved, you help spread the message within your own network and increase its reach.

When being there for others, make sure you are in a good place yourself first. Taking on burdens does have an impact on your own mental health, and if you find it’s getting too much, it’s absolutely fine to take a step back. 

Make Noise

This is about listening to what those in the mental health community are asking for and getting involved. This could be signing pledges and petitions or getting involved in supporting an organisation that’s fighting for better mental health.

But if you’ve got other commitments or don’t want to go all-in (and not everyone does, and that’s okay), engaging and sharing the content that others producing helps spread the message too. 

Within your company

While many of us have been working remotely, we spend a lot of our time working. That’s why it’s important that our mental health is looked after at work. If you are in a position where you have a voice in your company’s mental health provision, this is something you cannot ignore. 

The important thing here is to not steamroll something out because it looks good. Instead, ask your people what they want, what’s going to help the most, and how you can implement that. Creating a culture of wellbeing isn’t something that an aqua park or online class will fix. It starts with being open and listening.

More info

Mental Health at Work Resources 

Mind Workplace Resources

Rethink’s Employer Toolkit

Calls to government

I absolutely believe that there has to be a sufficiently funded mental health service that is readily available for all those who need to use it to do so. If we are encouraging people to speak up and seek support, that has to be there.

It’s important to note the difference between mental illness and mental wellbeing. Every Mind Matters, for example, helps suggest ideas for mental wellbeing, in the same way, the Mental Health Foundation talk about getting out in nature for this week.

But there are people who live with mental illness that need real, professional support. A conversation with a mate, for example, is not a substitute for that. We have to look after the nation’s mental wellbeing, but we cannot lose sight of those who are really struggling and need much more than that.

Here are some organisations that are fighting to turn awareness into action: 

Calm

This passionately worded page shares the need for action on mental health awareness week. It expresses better than I could the superficial nature of awareness weeks and how real change happens deeper than that.

Mind

Mind has created a list of resources you can use this mental health awareness week to join the fight for mental health. This gives practical ways that you can help spread the message yourself.  

So now it’s over to you. The ideas above are about getting involved in mental health and making a difference for the long term, not just this week. 

YoungMinds 

YoungMinds are joining calls from others in the mental health community for government to provide meaningful and readily available support to those living with mental illness. This tweet words this beautifully. 

And many others. Look towards hashtags like #MentalHealthAwareness to see how others are getting involved in the fight. 

While a lot of this is decided by the government, it felt needed to share some of the frustrations of the mental health community here, alongside things we can all do to improve the situation. 

By Jake Symons

Jake Symons is an entrepreneur and passionate mental health advocate determined to share his story to help others. Alongside writing on this blog he hosts Mental Monday: Mental Health Live a biweekly intimate and unscripted conversation about mental health.

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