Our annual Sock it to Stigma! (SITS) campaign seeks to raise awareness about the stigma associated with mental health and the damage that stigma can cause. Each year we ask organisations to get all their employees wearing their brightest socks, on show, to create a fun discussion point around which to rally about this serious subject. We send out special activity packs to over 400 schools, for teachers to use to engage with children on a variety of mental health topics in a fun way. This year’s campaign will launch with Children’s Mental Health Week and will run throughout February.
Mental ill health is all too often a topic that is not widely spoken about, especially in a workplace environment, with individuals fearing that they will be let go, not given as much responsibility or have their challenges ignored entirely by their colleagues and superiors. When mental ill health is not dealt with, it can have a hugely negative impact on productivity and work performance.
By taking part in SITS, you are showing that you are not afraid to stand up and be counted when it comes to fighting the stigma surrounding mental health, and that your employees and colleagues can come to you for support and advice, and be taken seriously without judgement or repercussion. SITS has proven to be a fun, interactive way of getting conversations about mental health started.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a huge increase in the numbers of people struggling with their mental health, especially those placed on furlough, those moving to remote working, and those who are suddenly finding themselves trying to juggle work alongside childcare and homeschooling.
Organisations are encouraged to proactively embrace projects which show that they are both understanding and accepting of the mental and emotional wellbeing challenges of their staff, and that they are there to support them as far as possible.
One way to do this is to organise a simple fundraising and sock-wearing competition between staff or departments, where each challenges the other to raise money for the SITS cause (mental health training for schools, nationally) and the company commits to match what the employees raise. Fundraisers usually involve doing something fun that can be shared on the intranet or on social media – but the compulsory ingredient in the mix is that the activity must be done whilst wearing your brightest, weirdest socks!
We will support participating employees, organisations and schools through our social media and PR, and those who run fundraising projects for our benefit as part of their SITS participation will receive complementary Lunch & Learn sessions.
Want to know how to participate in this year’s SITS campaign?
This year we are raising funds to provide basic mental health training to teachers. Why is this important? 3 out 4 diagnosed with a serious mental health condition could have been diagnosed before their 18th birthday – making it imperative that teachers understand the basics of mental health and what to be vigilant for in the classroom. To date, teachers do not receive mental health training as part of their initial teacher training course.
Just £5 provides 1 mental health first responder for 1 child in a class. You can help us make sure the next generation has better support for mental health.