By Hannah Kerfoot and Swetha Babu

Stress Awareness Month was established in 1992, and yet many of us in the office hadn’t heard of it until it was brought up by the Pharmora Mental Health First Aiders. It is an event created to raise awareness of stress, and can be applied to any office environment, since this can be where a lot of stress builds up in people’s lives.  

On the Stress Management Society’s website there are resources for handling stress and educational resources about stress (Stress Awareness Month 2024 – The Stress Management Society).  

The Pharmora Mental Health First Aiders would like to make sure that everyone in the office feels they are able to express when they are stressed or overwhelmed, to make sure that everything runs as smoothly as possible.
Self-care and stress reduction activities are useful and sometimes quite easy ways to improve mental health, for example taking breaks and practising mindfulness.  

Making sure people’s voices are heard is a big part of ensuring staff members are not too stressed, communication can lead to lightened workloads and thus decreased stress. In that vein, Pharmora conducts regular employee forums and frequent staff surveys so staff-member’s concerns can be voiced and addressed. 

There are plenty of ways Pharmora already tries to combat stress and increase staff-members mental health. These include:  

  • A monthly wellbeing budget that staff members can choose to use on anything, from gym memberships to manicures.  
  • Regular office social events.  
  • Encouraging regular breaks and providing environments for other activities, such as a collaboration space with sofas for gaming and table football.  
  • The previously mentioned employee forums. 
  • Supporting our Mental Health First Aiders to help the rest of the staff to see their mental health as a priority.  

In the future, Pharmora intends to introduce a scheme where staff members can nominate their teammates for recognition when they have accomplished tasks or for other achievements.  

As well as this, in the short term, we plan to hold some craft sessions during lunch for any colleagues who are interested in learning to crochet as a social activity and also a way to relax.