What is Mental Health Awareness Week?

Mental Health Awareness Week takes place 18-24 May 2020 and is an opportunity for all of us to raise awareness of mental health issues and advocate against social stigma.

The event provides an opportunity for you and your organisation to add to the wider conversation that will be occurring on social media, television and elsewhere; to set out the importance of mental health to your organisation with your staff and to underpin this commitment with a range of activities to support learning on the subject.

What is this year's theme?

The theme of this year’s event was sleep. However, this was changed by the Mental Health Foundation (who lead the week) on Thursday 9 April to kindness in response to the coronavirus.

Unfortunately our resources take us around 6 weeks to produce, design and test and we’re unable to produce a new pack to reflect the change in theme given the late notice from the Mental Health Foundation. However, we still believe the theme of sleep is as important as ever.

There's a close relationship between sleep and mental health. Living with a mental health problem can affect how well you sleep and poor sleep can have a negative impact on your mental health. 

Sleep problems affect more than 50% of adult patients with generalised anxiety disorder and are common in those with post traumatic stress disorder. Studies similarly estimate that between 65% and 90% of adult patients with major depression experience some kind of sleep problem.

IES’ Working at Home Wellbeing Survey Interim Findings Report, published on 7 April 2020 and launched in response to COVID-19, has also found 64% of respondents have lost sleep from worry, 40% are not waking up feeling fresh and rested and 60% are experiencing fatigue in addition to a range of musculoskeletal complaints, physical and emotional health concerns that might impact our sleep and mental health. This would suggest this year's theme is of particular importance in the current situation. 

What Time to Change activities can you deliver?

This Mental Health Awareness Week, we encourage you all to consider how you can raise understanding of the intersection between sleep and mental health in your workplaces.

Many of the activities within this pack can be undertaken individually or as part of a group and on work social media platforms such as Whatsapp groups, Microsoft Teams, Yammer, Slack and Zoom.

Whilst there are many important and sensitive issues to address and updates to provide to staff at this time, we would continue to encourage organisations to consider how some of these activities might still be deployed across your business or specific team, providing staff an avenue to educate themselves on the topic and begin a conversation around how the current situation might be impacting them, their sleep and their mental health

Download the Activity Pack

Our Mental Health Awareness Week Activity Pack is full of activities that you can look to deliver, alongside resources to support the promotion of your commitment to addressing mental health stigma and the events your employees can get involved in.

Download the Mental Health Awareness Week Activity Pack (PDF, 5.0MB) >