Mental Health Awareness Week was established twenty-one years ago by the Mental Health Foundation, the country’s leading mental health research charity. It’s a week-long celebration to raise awareness and de-stigmatise mental health challenges.
This year, Mental Health Awareness Week will take place from Monday the 9th of May until Sunday the 15th of May 2022. The week will explore feelings of loneliness, its impact on our mental health and how we can all play a part in combating isolation within our community.
Michahaila Downie is a longstanding advocate of promoting mental wellbeing. As the Director of People at Antibody Analytics, Michahaila shines a light on the importance of nurturing our mental health in the workplace.
“I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that the pandemic has put a significant strain on our mental state. We’ve been isolated from our loved ones, friends, and colleagues, plunged into the uncharted waters of uncertainty and life as we know it has changed. The Mental Health Foundation has been tracking loneliness levels in the UK during the pandemic, and research has found that the experience has been considerably higher.
“Now that our doors start to open, it’s time to shine a light on our struggles and let in the healing breeze of reassurance. By lending an ear to others, we can show our support, take comfort in the notion of shared experiences, and create collective awareness.
“Too often, employees are scared to speak up about their mental wellbeing. A survey conducted by the UK-based charity, Mind, revealed that one in five people felt as if they couldn’t confront their boss about work-related stress, and as little as half of the people diagnosed with a mental health problem had told their manager.
“I wanted to change that. The importance of positive mental wellbeing ripples into everything we do, think or say. As the Director of People at Antibody Analytics, it’s my duty of care to promote positive mental wellbeing. Whether that’s showing gratitude to the team or creating a platform for conversation, it’s my mission to normalise conversations and encourage open dialogue.
“Our social connections can tackle the epidemic of loneliness. We can all play a part in this, and Mental Health Awareness Week is an invaluable opportunity for us to stand up and speak about the challenges we are facing.”