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Mental Health Awareness Week

Monday, Sep 24, 2018, by Sheryl Blythen

Organisations are being encouraged to show their people they care about their mental health and wellbeing as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from October 8 to 14. The Mental Health Foundation says research shows that people who feel their employer cares about their wellbeing are more engaged at work. This year, the Foundation is embracing Matauranga Māori/Māori ancestral knowledge in the resources it has produced for workplaces. Suggested workplace activities have been developed as a result of weaving together the Maramataka/Māori lunar calendar, phases of the moon and the Five Ways to Wellbeing. The Five Ways to Wellbeing (Connect, Keep Learning, Take Notice Be Active and Give) are five simple yet proven actions you can use every day to help you find balance, build resilience and boost your wellbeing. Workplace resources, including a new workplace challenge, suggested activities and poster, e-signature and screensaver, will help inspire and motivate your people to:

  • Connect with Ranginui/Sky Father and Papatūānuku/Earth Mother
  • Keep Learning about and Māori ancestral knowledge and our New Zealand history
  • Take Notice of the natural world and everything within it, including ourselves
  • Be Active in nature, and
  • Give back to nature as a way to nurture our environment.

Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson says, “The mental wellbeing of your people is one of your most valuable business assets”. “Mental Health Awareness Week is an opportunity to show your people you care. Whether you support people to learn (or share with others) where they are from, their maunga/mountain or awa/river, organise a whānau gathering in a local park, or share fun and interesting facts about native plants and animals each day, you’ll be enhancing the wellbeing of your people. “We know workplaces that prioritise mental health have better engagement, reduced absenteeism and higher productivity, while people have improved wellbeing and greater morale.”

 Mental Health Awareness Week has been run annually by the Mental Health Foundation since 1993. The week is endorsed by the World Federation for Mental Health and is marked in more than 150 countries at different times of the year. 

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