How To Raise Awareness for Mental Health

Knowing how to raise awareness for mental health, whether within schools for youth or within workplaces, can be a key factor in maintaining positive wellbeing in your communities. Awareness is crucial in helping people identify warning signs in themselves and others, reducing stigma and shame, and encouraging help seeking behaviours.

Here we’ll explore effective strategies to promote mental health awareness in both school and the workplace, to help create environments where individuals can thrive emotionally and mentally.

How to Raise Awareness for Mental Health in School

Raising awareness in schools encourages a supportive environment that normalises seeking help and support, both from peers and professionals. By reducing stigma, those struggling are more likely to receive appropriate support sooner, and this early intervention can be key in preventing long term harms.

Keep an Open Dialogue

Creating a safe space for open conversations about mental health is essential, particularly for younger people who may not understand how to name or cope with big feelings. Students, teachers, and parents should all feel comfortable discussing their emotions and concerns.

Mental health should be discussed openly, with avenues for both direct and anonymous communication. The easier it is to speak out loud about poor mental health and mental illness, the more likely someone is to seek help.

Be Aware of Warning Signs

Warning signs can vary depending on the individual, their culture, and what mental health concern they are struggling with specifically. In general, it’s important to keep an eye out for changes in behaviour, academic performance, or social interactions. Early detection and intervention can make a significant difference in a student’s life.

Warning signs should be addressed both with the student, their teacher, and their parents depending on the specific concern. Keep in mind that not all students will feel comfortable discussing their struggles with every adult in their life.

Be Kind

Kindness can have a profound impact on students’ mental well-being. Promote anti-bullying initiatives and encourage acts of kindness within the school community.

The kinder spaces for peers and for adult interactions can be, the less likely a student is to feel fear, isolation, or shame. These feelings can be significant barriers in reaching out for help and for long term positive wellbeing.

Encourage Seeking Help

Let students know that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Schools can offer access to counsellors and mental health professionals who can provide guidance and support when needed.

Ensure that there are as few barriers to accessing these avenues for help as possible. The easier it is to gain access to help, the less likely students are to ‘fall through the cracks’.

How to Raise Awareness for Mental Health in the Workplace

The workplace is another crucial setting for mental health awareness. All the benefits schools gain from awareness are equally as applicable to the workplace. Here’s how organisations can contribute to a mentally healthy workforce:

Promote a Supportive Workplace Culture

Leadership shapes the culture of the workplace. Encourage managers to put employee wellbeing first and foster a culture that welcomes candid conversations about mental health. This creates the foundation for a culture of support.

Part of fostering this culture includes being aware of what’s happening ‘on the ground’. Keep in touch with your employees, and complete regular check-ins to support an open communication flow.

Providing Accessible Mental Health Resources

Companies can provide Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) to ensure employees have access to mental health resources. EAPs offer confidential counselling and support services, making it easier for employees to seek help when needed.

Organisations should also focus on ensuring that there are as few barriers as possible to accessing EAPs as possible. Those in leadership positions can also proactively encourage employees making use of them, especially if they have been experiencing burnout, complications with clients, or interpersonal difficulties at work.

Addressing Burnout and Overwork

Burnout is a significant issue, particularly in high pressure and high demand workplaces and industries such as healthcare or entrepreneurship. Organisations should be aware of the signs of burnout and implement measures to prevent it.

Promoting work-life balance, flexible schedules, and stress management programs can help. Those in leadership positions should also make an example out of talking openly about burnout and taking steps to protect themselves.

Training and Workshops on Mental Health

Knowledge is power, and the more knowledge people have about mental health and illness, the less stigma and shame may be felt by those experiencing it. Companies can organise workshops on stress management, resilience, and creating a mentally healthy work environment.

These trainings will raise awareness of warning signs, protective strategies, and options for supporting overall well-being and mental health. If all employees look out for each other, this ultimately fosters better wellbeing and a more cohesive and collaborative environment.

Promoting Self-Care and Wellbeing

All organisations, whether schools or workplaces should encourage their members to participate in strong self-care to promote overall wellbeing. Promoting a “take care of yourself” culture results in happier people and better outcomes.

  • Encourage Regular Exercise: Promote physical activity as a means of relieving stress, improving mood, and maintaining good physical health.
  • Provide Healthy Eating Options: Ensure access to nutritious meals where possible. It is a good idea to educate people about the link between diet and mental health.
  • Stress Reduction Techniques: Teach stress management techniques such as breathing exercises, meditation, or mindfulness practices. Offering quiet spaces for relaxing can help people put this into practice.
  • Promote Work-Life Balance: Encourage people to establish clear boundaries between their work/school lives and their personal lives. Make sure you’re checking in that the people in your community are not overworked.
  • Mental Health Days: Allowing for these days reduces the stigma of ‘needing a break’, and creates a normalcy around protecting your mental health.
  • Supportive Leadership: Those in leadership positions should be aware of the warning signs of stress, burnout, and mental illness. They should also speak openly about seeking help, and offer it proactively.
  • Workload Management: Ensure workloads are reasonable and manageable. People should be taught skills in prioritisation and time management.
  • Recognise Achievements: Acknowledge and celebrate both large and small achievements and milestones. Fostering a culture of positive reinforcement also enables this recognition amongst peers.


Raising awareness, both in schools and workplaces, is important for minimising stigma, protecting wellbeing, and enabling people to access help when needed. Knowing how to raise awareness for mental health allows organisations to foster an environment where mental health is prioritised, and individuals can lead healthier and more fulfilling lives.

Clinically Reviewed By

Brittany Hunt

Brittany Hunt is an internationally experienced clinician, specialised in treating addictions and co-occurring disorders. Having worked in the public and private sector, she utilises holistic and evidence-based approaches designed to empower the patients in their recovery journeys. A graduate of The University of Auckland, she has a Bachelor of Health Sciences majoring in Mental Health and Addictions, a diploma in Psychology and Counselling and a Post-Graduate degree in Health Sciences, majoring in Addictions. She is a fully registered practitioner under the Drug and Alcohol Association of Aotearoa New Zealand (DAPAANZ).

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