Mental Health Awareness Week: Coping with stress in the workplace

Mental Health Awareness Week 2018 (14-20 May) focused on stress and the ways employers and employees can improve their wellbeing in the workplace.

To mark the week, the Society for Education and Training (SET) opened up a selection of relevant member-only content to all during the week. See a round-up of the week as shared across our Twitter pages (@SocietyET and @E_T_Foundation).


  • We are supporting #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek here at ETF starting with a lovely surprise on our desks this morning (a chocolate bar and an orange!). We are doing small things throughout this week to take a break, think about looking after ourselves and others.
  • A mindful toolkit - just the ticket for mental health awareness week. Another great product produced by the sector and funded by @E_T_Foundation . Thank you @ClaireCollins8 #EndTheStigma
  • Sitting all day is not great for posture, it can cause neck and back strain, and other health issues too. To support #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, we are encouraging ETF staff to get stretching! For more tips and advice follow @mentalhealth
  • With rising workloads, job changes and funding cuts, teachers, trainers and staff are facing more pressure than ever before. We look at how to get the right support for a better work-life balance #mentalhealthawarenessweek @StressMgtSoc 
  • We had a lovely mindful walk today from our offices to St James' Park as today's activity for #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek. We also linked up with our neighbours @IIP who joined us on the walk and it was great to get to know them better!
  • The Mindfulness Project answer your questions and offer tips on how to practise mindfulness or introduce it into a learning environment. Webchat transcript open to all during #mentalhealthawarenessweek  @LondonMindful
  • Today for #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek we're thinking about the wider world and demonstrating random acts of kindness, be it holding the door for the person behind you or offering to make a cup of tea for a colleague.
  • As #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek comes to a close, for us this week was about reminding ourselves why supporting your wellbeing at work is important. We hope you have enjoyed our updates and those from @SocietyET. We will be back on Monday, have a lovely weekend.

With anxiety one of the most common mental health issues – accounting for 23 per cent of NHS activity and costing the British economy £15 billion per year in lost productivity – it is more important than ever that organisations offer the right support to employees.

When you’re overwhelmed by stress it may lead to mental health problems or make existing problems worse, reports the Mental Health Foundation. However, 47 per cent of staff are uncomfortable disclosing mental health issues to their employer and 25 per cent feel there is inadequate support for mental health in their workplace, according to an employee survey by CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development.

Recognising and responding to employees affected by mental health issues

In January 2017 Prime Minister Teresa May announced plans to increase the support and resources available to employees suffering with mental health issues in the workplace.

Addressing the need to promote a culture of change and encourage employers to recognise and respond to practitioners affected by mental health issues, SET has published the following articles, webchats and webinars:

  • Article: Support your health and wellbeing in the workplace - advice on how to get a better work-life balance and find the right support and advice when you need it.
  • Webchat: Mindfulness for learners and practitioners - how mindfulness can help practitioners deal with challenging workloads, stress, and manage behavioural issues in the classroom.
  • Webinar: Staff health and wellbeing at work - webinar looking at health and wellbeing in the workplace. Kathryn James defines what we mean by health and wellbeing, what it is about work that can sustain and promote positive health and wellbeing, and the triggers to poor health and wellbeing.

Focus on learners' mental health: 

  • Article: Supporting learners' mental health in further education and skills - with students increasingly struggling with mental illness, this article looks at how colleges and further education providers can raise awareness and address mental health difficulties.
  • Webinar: Supporting learners' with mental health needs - webinar aiming to support members who are working with learners and apprentices with mental health needs. It looks at how teachers and trainers can: support the declaration of mental health needs and enable learners to talk about their mental health; support learners with mental health needs in the classroom and in work placement; get support for themselves and develop their own professional practice in supporting learners with mental health needs.

Advice from the Mental Health Foundation

Find out more about Mental Health Awareness Week 2018 by visiting the Mental Health Foundation website.

  • Talk about your feelings: Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled.
  • Take a break: Taking a break is good for us. A change of scene or a change of pace can be good for your mental health.
  • Eat well: What we eat may affect how we feel. A diet that is good for your physical health is also good for your mental health.
  • Keep in touch: Strong family ties and friendships can help you deal with the stresses of life and maintain good mental health.
  • Stay active: Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you concentrate, sleep and look and feel better.
  • Drink sensibly: We often drink alcohol to change our mood, but drinking is not a good way to manage difficult feelings.
  • Do something you are good at: Enjoying yourself can help beat stress. Do an activity you are good at to improve your mood.
  • Ask for help: None of us are superhuman. If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help.
  • Care for others: Doing good for others does you good. Take time to care for others to improve both your and their mental health.
  • Accept who you are: We are all different. Accept and be proud of who you are rather than wishing you were more like someone else.

Order a green ribbon pin badge to raise awareness and support good mental health.

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