ideas for your workplace event

Looking for materials to challenge misconceptions about mental health and provoke discussion?  We've got a variety of quizzes, exercises and resources for you to use.

Note:  Some activities could bring up difficult feelings, and it is important to remember that there is likely to be at least one person in the group who has personal experience of mental health problems.  Create a safe environment and positive learning environment by agreeing ground rules at the outset.  People should not be asked to disclose personal information unless they choose to.

At the end of the activity, make sure everyone knows where support is available in and out of the workplace and how to access this support.

For yourself

How are mental and physical health treated differently? - 10 minutes
What does parity of esteem mean for mental health? This experiential exercise is designed to highlight the differences between how physical and mental health issues are treated.

Do you wear a mask at work? Exercise - 15 minutes
We all tell versions of our lives.  Does how you appear at work differ from how you really feel? Help your colleagues understand the mask we all wear and discuss how you can bring your true self to work.

What goes through your mind at work? -   5 minutes  
What do we mean by self-stigma?  Fill in the blank speech bubbles handout. Who would you share these thoughts with?  What would you tell a colleague in the same situation?  It's ok to say if you are not coping.  

Stigma word map - 5 minutes
What does stigma mean to you?  Why does it matter?  Fill in the word map with words you associate with mental health stigma.  How can we reduce stigma about talking about mental health?

Stigma Force Field Analysis exercise - 10 minutes
What are the barriers to seeking help?  This activity looks at the pros and cons of talking about mental health at work.  Fill in the blank handout

Pledge to Surf – 10 minutes 
We all love surfing the web, encourage colleagues to be glued to pages that can help them to change the way they think and act about mental health.

Taboo or not Taboo – 10 minutes 
By exposing what is considered ‘taboo’ in a safe space can create a sense of community amongst colleagues whilst establishing that mental health belongs to us all and isn’t taboo after all

Elephant in the room – 5 minutes
Experiencing mental health problems can be a very isolating experience. Sometimes people need to see something physical that shows them they are not alone in their experiences

Am I reeaally fine? – 5 minutes 
This activity is as simple as it is daring as it involves breaking away from one of our ingrained habits of telling others we are ‘fine’ when we are not.

In groups

Mental Health pub quiz - 15 minutes
Find out how much your colleagues know about mental health.  Run our mental health quiz in your workplace.

Mental Health myth buster quiz - 15 minutes
Play our myth buster quiz to challenge misconceptions, and understand the real facts about mental health problems are and how they can affect    people.

What does stigma feel like? - 10 minutes
This is a great activity to help an audience you are speaking to learn what it feels like to experience stigma.

Spontaneous 8 – 10 minutes 
Brainstorm with colleagues all the ways you can start conversations about mental health in minutes.

Fancy some Craftercise  - 30 minutes
Change the way your colleagues think and act about mental health whilst also creating something artistically fabulous. 

I am still awesome you know – 15 minutes
Help colleagues to see that we are all awesome despite our personal experiences of mental health problems

How do we chill? – 15 minutes 
Encourage colleagues to share how they relax after a tough day is a good way to start talking about mental health. Be inspired by each other’s ideas.

Secret Banta – 15 – 20 minutes 
Secret Santa is fun during Christmas but this activity is fun and can be done all year around! The bonus is that it is all about starting those conversations and helps us to change the way we think and act about mental health.

Lunch and learn – mental health – 45 – 60 minutes 
Lunch and Learns’ are a great way for people to get to know one another from different teams that don’t normally interact. See if you can encourage colleagues to gather for a ‘Lunch and Learn’

Let’s do Tea, Toast and Chat – 15 minutes 
One way of breaking from routine during work is to put a meet up event into your calendars. People are more likely to priorities something already in the diary. Invite people to a specific time for some ‘tea, toast and a chat or even a ‘coffee, cookie and a convo’.

Pass the Parcel of Chat – 3 minutes per chat
This activity is a fun way to start conversations about mental health, and takes from the popular childhood game Pass the Parcel.

Mindfulness - 5 - 15 minutes
This mindfulness activity pack gives you six different mindfulness exercises.


In pairs

Hide and Seek – 10 minutes
Surprise your colleagues whilst also informing them about mental health by hiding mental health related facts and thoughts in the least expected of places.

E-Pet Therapy - 5 minutes – (25 minutes if doing further impact exercise)
This activity is designed for a feel good factor that also encourages starting a conversation about mental health.

Time to Change begins at home – 10 minutes
Encourage your colleagues to show their loved ones that they care. They can tell their partner how much they love them and say why or call housemates and tell them what you appreciate about them. 

Slay your stigma demons – 7 minutes
Brainstorming is a really effective way of getting the more authentic thoughts, feelings and ideas on paper that have not been influenced by our internal narratives.

Share your Tupperware – 20 minutes
Encourage your colleagues to meet up at a scheduled lunch time to catch up with one another. You can even make this part of your organisational culture

People Snap – 15 minutes 
Feelings and experiences linked to feeling mentally unwell can feel like an isolating experience and so stigma grows. Stigma and isolation can both be broken once people realise they are not alone in coping with how they feel. The inspiration behind this activity is that much loved childhood game of Snap!

And if you supervise or line manage people - some ideas for you too

Do you supervise or manage people? – 10 – 30 minutes
Supervising or line managing people requires demonstrating care and value for each member of team, this is a ‘soft’ skill that can be difficult to exhibit. Master this soft skill and be well on your way to building a strong, motivated team who perform at optimum levels