This Mental Health Awareness Week has a different feel to past years. For the most part, many of us are still in some form of lockdown, though the light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel is drawing ever nearer.
The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is nature, promoting the positive impact that nature can have on our mental health.
As employers, the way in which we approach employee mental health and wellbeing has been turned on its head. What your employees need from your health and wellbeing initiatives may well have changed too. Access to services may have been restricted and many support networks were brought online.
We’ve collated a list of 10 of the best free resources, tools and services from across the web to share with your people – and give them a try yourself! We’d love to hear how you get on with them, feel free to share your own resources in the comments for our community of readers.
1. Mind, the mental health charity
Most of us have heard of Mind. As the UK’s leading mental health charity, they offer a plethora of resources for those seeking more information, guidance or support with their mental health. From YouTube videos and workplace guides, to fascinating research and advice about where to get help, treatment options and advocacy services.
Mind have also curated a repository of resources and toolkits for employers looking to introduce more robust mental health and wellbeing support for their employees called Mental Health at Work.
Pricing: Free to access
2. Living Life to the Full
Living Life to the Full is a free library on online resources and courses that teach a range of life skills that aim to improve wellbeing and resilience throughout life. Whether living with a long-term condition, experiencing anxiety, low mood or stress, or are (or about to be) a new parent; Living Life to the Full has been created by experts in cognitive behavioural therapy.
With around 30 million visitors to their site from across the globe every year; Living Life to the Full is a great resource for your employees that helps them to tackle problems, build confidence and feel happier.
Visit: Living Life to the Full
Pricing: Free for individuals
3. NHS audio guides
The NHS has created a number of free to listen to audio guides on mental wellbeing. Designed to help boost a listener’s mood, these short guides have been created with doctors and cover everything from coping mechanisms for low mood and depression to anxiety control training and confidence building.
Visit: NHS Audio Guides
Pricing: Free to access
Headspace is an online portal and mobile app providing guided meditation and mindfulness techniques for any scenario. Whether you’re trying to get off to sleep, be more present or are simply looking for techniques to relieve day-to-day stress or worrying; Headspace offers a comprehensive library of guided meditations, animations, mindful workouts, handy articles and videos.
Pricing: 7-day free trial, monthly subscriptions start at less than £5
5. Breathe sessions on Apple Watch
For those of your employees with an Apple Watch, remind them to make use of the Breathe app. Encouraging users to set aside a few minutes every day to relax and be mindful of their breathing; the Breathe app comes as standard on the wearable device.
Users can set up daily notifications, define how often they get breathe reminders and adjust the breathing rate to their preferred number of breaths per minute.
Sounds simple right? But mindful breathing has been shown to reduces anxiety, help with burnout, provide certain types of pain relief, and decrease negative thinking.
Visit: Breathe on Apple Watch
Pricing: Free (for existing Apple Watch users)
6. The Mindset Mentor podcast
Rob Dial is an international speaker, coach and content creator. With over 2 million followers on social media, his passion for helping people to motivate themselves led to the creation of this award-winning podcast.
The Mindset Mentor is designed for anyone looking for motivation, direction and focus in life with short 20-minute episodes that include “Your Comfort Zone is Killing Your Dreams”, “How to Ask for Help”, and “Affirmations for Success”.
Pricing: Free to access
7. Calm 10-Minute Meditations
We all have busy days and often, finding the time to take a few moments for ourselves feels impossible. Calm is a leading app for sleep and guided meditation; however, they have also developed a series of free to access videos of YouTube called ’10-Minute Meditations’ which are exactly what they say on the tin.
This Daily Calm series is an accessible entry point to meditation and the short dedication of time needed demonstrates why they have amassed almost half a million views since April 2020.
Visit: Daily Calm
8. Orlaith O’Sullivan on InsightTimer
One of our past HR Expert webinar guests, Dr Orlaith O’Sullivan joined us recently for a practical, hands-on session to help attendees to master the practice of living mindfully (you can check out the most relaxing webinar we’ve had to date here).
Orlaith is an internationally renowned mindfulness teacher, delivering mindfulness courses, retreats and events that help people thrive. She has provided a number of guided mindfulness sessions on InsightTimer to encourage deep relaxation, post-work reset, self-care and much more.
Price: Free to access
9. National Trust Guided Walks
In the spirit of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, take every opportunity to promote the positive impact that nature can have on our mental health.
The National Trust offers a wide selection of guided walks (to make sure you don’t get lost!) that often start from some of the country’s most historic buildings. Users can simply pop in their location, set the difficulty level and walk length and off you go! These guided walks offer a turn-by-turn journey, often stopping at stunning points of interest or historic spots along the way.
What better way to encourage your team to connect with nature than with some fabulous walks on their doorstep?
Visit: National Trust Guided Walks
Price: Free to access
10. Down Dog
Offering yoga, HIIT workouts, guided meditation, barre and prenatal yoga sessions, Down Dog is a fantastic app that allows you to tailor online fitness classes to suit you. Fully customisable by duration, fitness level, instructor and even the music used; these interactive sessions can be personalised to fit everyone!
To get your workout on this Mental Health Awareness Week, why not take your gear, your smartphone and get outside for a session with Down Dog. Whether you choose to be at one with nature during a guided yoga session or cool off outside during a high intensity workout; there is something for everyone!
Visit: Down Dog
Price: Free trial, monthly subscriptions start at £5.99
Disclaimer: If you, or one of your employees, are experiencing mental health issues, please speak to a doctor of qualified individual to seek help and support. These applications and tools should be used to supplement professional services such as counselling and therapy, not replace them.
Natural HR is in no way affiliated with any of the companies mentioned in this article.