We take care of our physical health so why should our mental health be any different? With this thought in mind, CRS has invested in training several mental health first aiders alongside our general first aiders. As this year’s theme focused on loneliness, our mental health first aiders have taken the helm with planning activities for everyone to take part in.
What is Mental Health Awareness Week and why is it important to know the signs of loneliness?
Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK was created by the Mental Health Foundation which has been in existence since 1949. The first Mental Health Awareness Week took place in 2001 and has since become one of the most significant mental health awareness observances in the world.
Each year, the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week varies to focus on a different topic that can significantly impact anyone’s mental health. This year’s theme focuses on the impact of loneliness and how it can impact an individual.
Loneliness is something that affects millions of people and can affect anyone at one time or another in their life – someone close to you may be suffering and you might not even realize it. With the pandemic and lockdowns, loneliness has affected more and more people, making the timing of this year’s theme even more vital.
CRS Mental Health Awareness Week activities schedule & the benefits of taking part
Our mental health first aiders put together a range of activities every day throughout the week for anyone at Compass to take part in if they wish. These activities aimed to bring people together and give a taster of positive ways to combat mental health stresses. Each activity had a mental health focus in mind but was varied to be inclusive and ensure something was appealing to everyone.
Monday: Mindfulness activities – Practicing Mindfulness
To practice mindfulness, we scheduled a meditation and colouring session for the last 15 minutes of the day. The aim of this was to use this time to de-stress and connect with the present moment. Mindfulness colouring asks us to focus on how we choose and apply colour in a design to bring our awareness to the present moment. Colouring is great for mindfulness as it reduces stress and tension by allowing the mind to get some rest at the end of the day. Colouring induces the same state as meditating by reducing the thoughts of a restless mind.
Tuesday: Group walk – Be physically active
Walking is not only beneficial for your physical health but also for your mental health. Physical activity has a huge potential to enhance our well-being. Even a short burst of 10 minutes of brisk walking increases our mental alertness, energy, and positive mood. We scheduled a 30-minute group walk to get outside and enjoy some of the beautiful spring weather by having an extended lunch.
Wednesday: Yoga – Try something new
According to the NHS, research has shown that learning new skills can also improve your mental well-being by boosting self-confidence and raising self-esteem, helping you to build a sense of purpose, and helping you to connect with others. Whether we’re a novice or experienced at yoga, this activity is well known for bringing lots of positive health benefits mentally and physically. Our yoga activity was carried out by our very own Senior Marketing Design Executive, Laura Frampton. Outside of work, Laura is a qualified yoga instructor and very kindly ran a 30-minute session for anyone at Compass to take part in towards the end of the day.
Thursday: Anonymous appreciation cards – Give to others
Research suggests that acts of giving and kindness can help improve your mental well-being by creating positive feelings and a sense of reward, giving you a feeling of purpose and self-worth, and helping you connect with other people. In aid of this, each person was provided an appreciation card addressed to someone in the office. Boxes were provided for these to be placed in and then given out at the end of the day.
Friday: After work social – Connecting with others
Having good relationships are incredibly important for your mental well-being whether it’s with family, friends and the wider community. According to the NHS, evidence has suggested building stronger, broader social connections in your life can increase your feelings of happiness and self-worth. With this in mind, our final activity for the week was an after work social. Allowing people to spend time together on a social level and non-work related environment.
We received lots of positive feedback from everyone who took part in one or all of the activities and had a great turn out for each one. With 1 in 4 adults feeling lonely some or all of the time, it’s really important to ensure that we can help provide some support and awareness for everyone around us.
Comments from senior management and mental health first aiders
Ben Brown – Divisional Manager, Compass Life Sciences & CRS Mental Health First Aider
“In a time where we are so overloaded with opportunity to connect with one another, its astounding how so many people are facing the struggle of loneliness. Given the recent lockdowns it was fitting that the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week was loneliness.
“The team of mental health first aiders at Compass, endeavoured to make sure that we raised awareness of the situation and show people ways to support good mental health. With a number of activities across the week to encourage people to think differently about how they view mental health and ways they can look to take steps to improve both their own health and pass on ideas to support others.
“It was fantastic to see the strong engagement from everyone in the business, with such a huge community spirit in the team, I was proud to say I work for a business that always looks out for one another and is always keen to be involved in initiatives such as this. I hope that all involved had something to take away from the experiences.”
Cassie Pay – Head of HR, Compass Recruitment Solutions
“Loneliness is more than just being alone and many of us may experience loneliness when we appear to be surrounded by people. It was great to see so many colleagues volunteer their time to this year’s Mental Health Awareness week and the range of activities meant everyone was able to get involved in something.”
Mia Chappell – Receptionist & Administrator, CRS & CRS Mental Health First Aider
“It was great to see everyone getting involved, raising awareness for Mental Health and the impact loneliness can have on a person. The Mental Health First Aiders arranged a series of activities throughout the week to cover each of the factors that improve someone’s mental health; connecting with others, being physically active, learning new skills, practicing mindfulness and giving to others.
“Hopefully this experience has provided people with the tools to improve their mental health and combat loneliness. Overall it was a positive experience and we have already had new suggestions for future wellbeing activities!”
Some reflections from those who took part
Josh Cooper – Consultant, Compass Associates
“I took part in the yoga activity during Mental Health Awareness Week and found the activity incredibly rejuvenating. It put everyone in a fantastic mood and introduced something that not everyone had experienced before. The week brought the company together and was a lovely chance to meet some slightly more unfamiliar faces as well taking part in activities that have been proved to help a range of people with their mental health.”
Natasha Isaac – Senior Consultant, Compass Associates
“After a busy day at my desk, the yoga session with Laura was the perfect way to relax both mentally and physically!”
Izzy Pearson – Digital Content & Events Executive, CRS
“Providing mental health support is something that is incredibly important to me and something I really appreciate at Compass! As someone that suffers from anxiety, it was so nice to take a bit of time out of my day by taking part in the walk, doing yoga or practicing mindfulness away from a screen. The comments I received in my appreciation card were just lovely!
I really appreciate the hard work and effort Compass and our mental health first aiders put into these events. By taking part in Mental Health Awareness Week, it reminds us all that we should check in with friends, family or colleagues to make sure that we’re ok.”
Further information on mental health support
For further information about Mental Health Awareness Week, visit Mental Health Foundation.
If you’d like to find out more about mental health support, here are some useful sources:
To find out more about our Community & Wellbeing initiatives and for all the latest CRS news, click here.