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May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a stretch of time dedicated to breaking down stigmas and increasing understanding of mental health and its effect on our lives. 

The U.S. Surgeon General reports that, in 2023, 76% of workers reported at least one symptom of a mental health condition, and 84% said that workplace conditions had contributed to at least one mental health challenge. And not to get too heavy, but National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that suicide was the eleventh leading cause of death in the United States in 2021 – but second for those aged 25-34 and fifth for those 35-44.

Don't neglect your mental health, no matter how busy you are.

These stats are a little bleak, but that doesn’t mean there’s no hope – nor anything we can do to help, both each other and ourselves: 

  • Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is critical for preventing burnout.
  • Staying hydrated, eating nutritiously and sleeping well have massive impacts on mood.
  • Spending time with nature decreases stress hormone production and improves blood oxygenation. And, what’s more, studies have shown that even keeping a live plant in the room with you is enough to reduce stress!
  • Like nature, water also has an effect on mood. Taking a shower – even if all you do is stand under the water unmoving for a few minutes – can help give a reset: hot water soothes muscle tension, and cold water improves circulation and helps us release beta-endorphins.

Now, will these simple acts cure clinical depression or anxiety disorder? Of course not. But those who suffer from clinical mental health disorders can still benefit from taking small steps when they are able. 

But, so far, these are all things we can do for ourselves. What about others?virtual-community-icon-min

Humans crave community. We form them around geolocations, hobbies, skills, careers, interests and various media like games, shows and movies because it feels good to connect meaningfully with others. And people who have strong social connections tend to make better, healthier choices and cope better with stress, anxiety and depression.

At work, we build and foster community by connecting with our colleagues, and a great way to do that is through peer-to-peer recognition programs.

Recognition has been shown across a wealth of studies to improve employee engagement. In 2023, we found in our Resilient Workforce Report that 75% of U.S.-based employees felt morale would improve if they were simply thanked more often. And in our 2024 report, Workplace Wellbeing: Where to focus in 2024, we found that recognizing and rewarding employees for their hard work ranked #3 for the best ways managers can improve employee wellbeing.

At Reward Gateway, we recommend building recognition programs around your organization’s values and mission to emphasize and reinforce the behaviors and actions you want to see among your people. But to accompany those more mission-driven recognition moments, supplement your program with greetings and celebrations for anniversaries, big life events, holidays and more. We’ve created a small assortment of cute eCards to support each other throughout Mental Health Awareness Month – and whether you’re already rocking the eCard game or haven’t yet taken the leap, we invite you to bring them to your workforce to build a culture of continuous recognition.

To use these mental wellbeing eCards, just right-click each one and select ‘Save as image’ – or, download this linked zip file to your computer.

Mental Health Awareness Month: Life is tough, but so are you!

Mental Health Awareness Month: I'm always here to taco bout it.

Mental Health Awareness Month: Thanks for all you do to support my mental health!

Mental Health Awareness Month: You're muffin short of awesome.

Mental Health Awareness Month: You're grape! Keep raisin the bar!

Prepare for the rest of the 2024 calendar year and its observances and celebrations with our Comprehensive HR Calendar, featuring bonus content and tips spread throughout every month to make your planning easier.

Download this 2024 calendar of critical dates, handy tips and helpful  resources to guide your HR planning.

Interested in learning more about how to create a culture of recognition within your organization? Schedule a call with one of our friendly employee engagement experts and see how you can make your corner of the world a better place to work.

Talk to an Engagement Consultant »

Klara Owens

Klara is passionate about spreading our mission to Make the World a Better Place to Work and connecting as many people as possible. With a background in Client Success, Klara has worked with our clients to enhance their EVPs and is now championing this internally at Reward Gateway.

Global Internal Communications and Engagement Lead

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