As Mental Health Awareness Week  draws to a close, See Me‘s Dr Patty Lozano-Casal discusses how walking can create opportunities to talk about our mental health in the workplace and signposts to some helpful See Me resources.

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Employers in Scotland are getting better at encouraging employees to stay active in the workplace. For example, in our office we are encouraged to take regular breaks away from the desk; take the stairs instead of the lift, and use standing desks.

But physical health is also linked to good mental health, which is why See Me promotes the use of walking activities, such as Walk a Mile, to relax and hold open and honest conversations about mental health. Physical activity can help boost performance and it’s great for the mind too – apparently it sparks the ‘creative’ side of the brain!

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We all have mental health just as we all have physical health, so it’s okay to talk about it. But how many employees would feel comfortable talking about their mental health in a meeting room or the boardroom?

Employers engaged in the Step Count Challenge can take advantage of See Me’s campaigns and activities, such as Pass a Badge or Feels FM to walk (or dance!) and build up the step count while having meaningful conversations with colleagues, volunteers and clients. Walking meetings give managers and employees a chance to check in with each other and move away from tables, chairs and walls while packing on steps. Managers ad supervisors can use the tips and scenarios in See Me’s Let’s Chat tool to guide conversations with employees.

Normalising mental health conversations won’t happen overnight in the workplace, but together employers and employees will end mental health stigma and discrimination in the workplace, one conversation (and hopefully many steps!) at a time.