Mental Health Awareness Week 2023: Essential Info for HR

Mental Health Awareness Week holds immense importance as a prominent date for employers throughout the UK, providing a crucial opportunity for HR professionals and advocates of mental wellbeing for employees to make a genuine difference within their organisations and industries.

Curious about this year’s theme and wondering how you can take part? Look no further, we have you covered with this guide. These are just a few of the topics we’ll cover:

  1. Mental Health Awareness Week: What is it and how can it help?
  2. Who organises Mental Health Awareness Week?
  3. What’s the theme?
  4. How can I get involved?


When is Mental Health Awareness Week?

Mental Health Awareness Week takes place in May every year.

This year it runs from the 15th May to the 21st of May.


Mental Health Awareness Week: What is it and how can it help?

Mental Health Awareness Week serves as a vital initiative that raises awareness and addresses the significance of mental health for every organisation. It’s a valuable opportunity for employers to prioritise the mental wellbeing of their people, supporting their employee’s wellbeing, while helping foster a positive and inclusive working environment. By engaging in activities and initiatives throughout the week, even if it’s just beginning meaningful dialogue, organisations can promote open discussion, reduce stigma, and implement strategies to enhance the mental health of their workforce.

It’s a chance to empower individuals, cultivate understanding, and ultimately create an environment that prioritises mental wellbeing for the benefit of both employees and the organisation as a whole.


What’s the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2023?

In this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, the focus will be on anxiety. This grants organisations the opportunity to delve into the impact of anxiety on our mental wellbeing and provide guidance on effective management techniques to combat anxiety, while signposting the relevant support systems for those who need it.

Anxiety, a common and normal emotion experienced by all of us, can sometimes escalate into a significant mental health challenge. Recognising the need for a nationwide conversation, Alexa Knight, Director of England at the Mental Health Foundation, explains that the chosen theme aims to encourage people to share their personal experiences and offer helpful strategies for anxiety management.

“We’ve chosen anxiety as the Mental Health Awareness Week theme this year to kickstart a nationwide conversation, encouraging people to share their own experiences and any helpful ideas on how they manage anxiety” – Alexa Knight, Director of England at the Mental Health Foundation.

Various external factors, such as relationships and job loss, can influence feelings of anxiety. Not being able to meet basic needs like heating our homes or accessing food can also trigger anxious thoughts and emotions too, which is commonplace in the UK as we go through the Cost of Living Crisis.

Within the workplace, research from a 2023 Champion Health report revealed that approximately 67% of employees experienced moderate to high levels of stress. These statistics highlight the urgency for employers to address this issue and take proactive steps in supporting their workforce’s mental wellbeing.

For further insight into anxiety, take a second to read our article on this year’s theme and how to create a work environment which limits stress and fosters positive mental health.


Mental Health Awareness Week 2023: Key Statistics

With 67% of employees experiencing mental ill health, it can have a detrimental impact on organisations. The annual cost of absenteeism is approximately £6 billion. For every £1 spent by employers on mental health interventions, such as a comprehensive EAP, employers could get £5.3o back in reduced absence, presenteeism, and staff turnover (MHFA England, 2022).

The upside is that mental health is something which is highly treatable and preventable, with employers having the ability to take steps to reduce the negative pressures which may be causing spikes in poor mental health.

Mental Health Awareness Week aims to help kickstart this opportunity for employers. By becoming aware of these statistics, as daunting as they may be, we can begin to foster good, positive mental health in the workplace.


Who organises Mental Health Awareness Week?

Mental Health Awareness Week 2023 takes place every year amd is hosted by The Mental Health Foundation (MHF), the UK’s leading charity focusing on mental health. This year is the 22nd year for the MHF and has become one of the biggest awareness dates both in the UK and around the world.


How can my business get involved?

With the Cost of Living Crisis affecting us all, to the point where over one third of adults feel anxious about their finances (Champion Health, 2023), it’s important that we make financial anxiety a key part of the conversation. Our careers are closely intertwined with our finances and not only that, work-related stress is a leading cause of anxiety among employees, so it’s clear that employers and HR managers have a clear role this Mental Health Awareness Week.

Foster open communication

When it comes to fostering open communication and initiating meaningful dialogue with your employees, creating a safe and supportive environment is paramount. Building a workplace where individuals feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and emotions without fear of judgement is essential. Start by proactively engaging in regular check-ins and one-on-one conversations, making sure to really listen to your employees’ concerns and providing a compassionate, sincere space for them to share their experiences. Encourage open discussions surrounding mental health through open discussions whether it’s one-on-one or group dialogue, that tackle common challenges and then offer valuable resources. Additionally, you can implement anonymous feedback  to allow employees to offer their thoughts and suggestions confidentially. By prioritising this open communication, you can foster a culture where mental health conversations are embraced, establishing an atmosphere of trust and sincerity in your workplace.

Be the catalyst for change

Leaders within your organisation play a pivotal role in nurturing a healthy work culture where mental health conversations flow freely, devoid of judgment or bias. Your influential role models can set the tone by openly sharing their experiences with anxiety. If you’re a leader yourself, why not take the plunge and start sharing your story today? Utilise internal communication platforms or even public forums like LinkedIn to articulate your encounters with loneliness, anxiety, or broader mental health challenges. By doing so, you provide a safe space for others to follow suit, empowering them to open up and share their own experiences.

Unleash the power of storytelling

Remember, sharing stories isn’t limited to leaders alone. Every individual within your organisation has a unique narrative that can contribute to reducing the stigma surrounding anxiety. By encouraging everyone to participate, including your organisation’s leaders, you can unlock horde of responses. The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) invites the public to share their stories of anxiety on social media using the hashtags #ToHelpMyAnxiety and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek. Make sure to incorporate these tags in your internal communications, inspiring your people to join the conversation and create a supportive community.

Make an impact through donations

Another impactful avenue for supporting mental health initiatives is through direct donations. The Mental Health Foundation, who organised Mental Health Awareness Week, welcomes contributions, and you can explore the official support and donation page to learn more about how your generosity can make a difference

Tap into official resources

The Mental Health Foundation offers a treasure trove of resources to amplify your organisation’s involvement, both within the workplace and in your communities. Take a moment to explore their comprehensive resources page, packed with backdrops, branded assets, and informative guides. These resources can enhance your engagement and ensure that your efforts resonate with authenticity and purpose.

Similarly Life & Progress offers a plethora of resources to promote mental health awareness and signpost readers and users alike to the relevant information to support their needs. Simply contact us to get started today!


By adopting these strategies, your organisation can proactively encourage meaningful dialogue and cultivate an inclusive environment that values mental wellbeing. Engage in open communication and foster a workplace culture where employees feel safe to share their thoughts and emotions without fear of judgment. By prioritising open communication, your organisation can build a supportive atmosphere that thrives on empathy, understanding, and resilience, ultimately helping out everyone involved.


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