by Annie Davidson
May 17, 2023
While most of us will seek care or medications for physical ailments, Mental Health America’s (MHA) 2023 report states that “over half (54.7%) of adults with a mental illness do not receive treatment, totaling over 28 million individuals.” This comes at a real cost, with the National Alliance on Mental Health estimating $300 billion per year in our country alone sacrificed to lost productivity.
Since 1949, MHA has designated May as Mental Health Month to help raise awareness for mental health as a critical part of overall wellness. Some professions, careers, and industries are more strenuous than others, and while stress is normal, it can lead to burnout and impact mental health. Your association can support the mental health needs of your members and industry year-round. Here are five ideas that can make a positive difference for attendees at your next event.
Whether you are on your 10th Zoom meeting of the day or running from the airport to an event, it’s easy to let frustration get the best of you and forget what you set out to achieve. Consider setting aside a few minutes before the start of your event to allow attendees to get centered, be present, and remember their goals for the event or meeting. This can be done on its own or paired with guided meditation or a breathing exercise.
Events can be overwhelming, and having a space to recharge, meditate, or pray can help attendees get the most out of your event while avoiding burnout. Consider setting up a designated wellness space at your next event for this purpose. A quiet, screen-free space with natural lighting, comfortable seating, and even plants or yoga mats gives attendees the option to step away without missing out on valuable content.
Networking is a major benefit of in-person events. Why not combine this with some wellness activities so people with similar needs have the opportunity to meet in a relaxed setting? Consider a neighborhood walk to allow attendees to reconnect with nature, an early morning yoga session, chair massages, or guided meditation.
Access to fitness centers
Exercise improves self-esteem and cognitive function and reduces anxiety, depression, and negative mood. When selecting an event location, prioritize facilities that offer a fitness center or even a pool to allow attendees to stick to their exercise routine or try something new to get away from the hustle and bustle. Venues near parks, beaches, or bike and walking paths can also help give attendees options to stretch their legs.
Offer healthy options
Nutrient-rich foods can improve attendees’ ability to focus, while preservatives and additives can worsen hyperactivity and depression. Ditch the sugar and processed food and set everyone up for success with plenty of fiber, fruits, nuts, vegetables, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and, of course, hydration stations.
These options not only demonstrate that you care about your members’ mental health, but will also boost their ability to focus and absorb the important content you have assembled. For more inspiration, resources, and information on Mental Health Month, visit the Mental Health America website.
Annie Davidson is in Corporate Marketing at Smithbucklin.