Last updated: 18.06.24

5 Ways to Better Mental Health and Well-being


Good health and well-being are essential in the workplace. Ensuring your employees are mentally healthy means your staff can perform at their best and are happy in their everyday lives.

But what is mental health, and how should you go about promoting it in your organisation? Many people assume that good mental health and well-being are synonymous with being happy, but while this is certainly a part of it, there's a lot more to it than that.

Self-esteem and self-confidence are also key elements of good mental health, as are good relationships with others and a positive feeling that you're able to do all the things you'd like to do. Wellbeing expert and professor of public health at the University of Warwick, Sarah Stewart-Brown explains that wellbeing also means having the ‘resilience to cope when life gets tough’.

So, how do you go about achieving this? Prof Stewart-Brown says that the key is not to view well-being as something you are, but rather to look at it as something you do. Wellbeing requires work, and the more you put in, the more you are likely to get out in terms of better mental health.

In this guide, we will highlight 5 steps to improve mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. To start, we will investigate the pillars of mental health and how they can be used within the workplace. We then explore 5 ways to help mental health and discuss mental health tools that support emotional health and well-being. 

Pillars of Mental Health 

Before diving into ways to improve mental health, it is important to understand the areas of our lives that can contribute to a good mental state. There are 4 pillars of mental health, these pillars allow us to draw attention to areas of our overall health which may be lacking and can result in poor mental health. We investigate these pillars of mental health and their impacts on an individual’s well-being below. 

Physical Health

It’s no secret that physical health and mental health are two sides of the same coin. Studies have shown that physical activity can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, which makes this one of the most important pillars of mental health. When we neglect our physical or mental health, the other will become negatively affected, so it's important to find the right balance. 

Physical health does not just mean exercise, it also concerns diet and sleep patterns, which can also affect a person's mental health. If someone in your workplace is struggling with their mental health, it can be helpful to suggest small acts of physical care which can improve their mood. Rather than overwhelming them with intense activities for mental health, suggest that they try short walks at lunchtime and revise their sleeping schedule. 

Emotional Health

While it may seem like a synonym for mental health, emotional health is slightly more specific. This pillar revolves around one’s ability to recognise and regulate their emotions. When an individual's mental health begins to deteriorate, so will their capability to control their thoughts and feelings. 

A drop in emotional health is often associated with stress, trauma or other mental health disorders like depression. This is an important pillar of mental health as poor emotional health can affect others, such as a lack of communication and being irritable in the workplace. It is vital that emotional health is considered when trying to improve mental health as it makes individuals more resilient and lets them process their emotions healthily. 

Cognitive Health

Cognition is our ability to think and comprehend information around us; in simple terms, it is our ability to concentrate, analyse and problem-solve. These are crucial skills in the workplace and contribute to the efficiency and productivity of your workforce. When an individual has a bad mental state cognitive tasks can become much more difficult and frustrating. 

There are several ways to improve cognitive health and many of them are geared towards strengthening and exercising the mind. Through simple activities such as puzzles, writing and engaging with hobbies, individuals can nurture their mental health and improve their cognitive function. If you want to improve mental health in the workplace, assessing the cognitive health of your employees is a great place to start. 

Social Health

Good mental health is often connected to our ability to socialise and form connections. Evidence suggests that those who spend more time with their peers are generally happier and healthier, both mentally and physically. Social interactions help us to develop a sense of belonging and improve overall confidence, so it is wise to consider this mental health pillar when evaluating mental health in the workplace. 

One of the best ways to help mental health in the workplace is to organise social meet-ups for your employees. While this isn’t always feasible, especially with remote working, having designated time in the workweek for teams to come together fosters a greater sense of purpose and reduces stress levels. It doesn’t always have to be a big get-together either, team quizzes, virtual book clubs and other forms of social interaction can help to bolster your workforce and keep them mentally healthy.

5 Steps Ways to Help Mental Health

The NHS has highlighted five key steps that research has proven to be useful in ensuring positive well-being and mental health. Organisations should try and promote these to employees and see what a difference they can make.

Connect with Others

Nurturing positive relations with others is a great way to boost wellbeing. Whether this is spending time with family or friends or being able to have a chat over lunch with colleagues in the workplace, sharing positive experiences and feelings helps build a strong support network and create a sense of belonging and self-worth. For organisations, putting in regular meetings and updates with managers and rewarding positive behaviours is a great place to start.

Get Active

The link between physical activity and good mental health is long established, so encouraging people to get out and about more will be a big contributor to wellbeing. But you don't have to spend hours in the gym every day to see the benefits - even something as simple as taking a regular walk at lunch can have an impact. Encourage your staff to find something they enjoy - whether this is jogging, cycling or playing football - and make it an everyday part of their life.

Carry on Learning

Picking up a new skill is a great way to boost self-esteem and the confidence individuals can get from this can carry over into many aspects of life, both at home and at work, but you don't have to learn a new skill - even doing activities such as visiting a gallery or picking up a book to find out more about a subject that interests you can be beneficial. An effective learning and development strategy should include time for personal development.

Give Something Back to Others

Even small acts of kindness towards other people can help improve self-esteem and contribute towards well-being. As research shows, giving to others and cooperating with them can stimulate the reward areas in the brain, creating positive feelings. Within your organisation encouraging acts such as fundraising for local charities or community groups will not only improve wellbeing but give employees access to a whole new social network to support them.

Be More Mindful

Mindfulness means being self-aware of not only what is going on with yourself, but also around you. Being mindful is to be present and conscious of your environment and how your feelings and emotions make you feel. Within your organisation, you can encourage staff to be more mindful by giving them dedicated support and offering mindfulness training

Mental Health Tools 

Alongside the pillars of mental health and steps to improve mental health, you can also encourage your employees to take advantage of mental health tools. There are a variety of online resources and guides that can help people understand their mental health and learn to manage it more effectively. 

Mindfulness Apps

There are a variety of apps available that provide ways to better mental health. Apps like Headspace and Calm give users the ability to engage in meditation exercises and activities for mental health. These apps can be a great mental health tool as they aid with reducing stress and regulating emotions. 

Highlighting these options to your workforce is a great way to promote mental health in the workplace and ensure good well-being for your staff.

Cognitive Behavioural Tools

You can also utilise aspects of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) as a mental health tool. CBT works to help individuals identify and challenge negative thought patterns and is proven to help with mental health.

Encourage your employees to keep thought records to reframe negative thoughts as this will help them with their self-esteem. You can also inform them about behavioural activation which involves planning and engaging in activities that are enjoyable to help improve low mood. Even offering some helpful mental health tips for employees can greatly improve their mental state. 

Relaxation Techniques

One of the best mental health tools that you can use to improve wellbeing in the workplace is relaxation techniques. Deep breathing exercises and visualisation can help manage stress and promote relaxation, which is a great way to help the mental health of your staff. For example, you can open meetings with a calming breathing exercise which will help to alleviate stress and promote the overall well-being of your employees.

FAQs about Mental Health and Well-being

What are 5 signs that show someone is mentally healthy?

The main signs that indicate someone has good mental health are; emotional stability, positive relationships, a strong sense of purpose, adaptability and self-confidence. Emotional stability and adaptability refer to how well someone is able to recover from setbacks and cope with change. Likewise, mentally healthy individuals are able to develop strong connections with others, have set goals and a direction in life and have a healthy level of self-esteem. 

What strategies can you use to assess your mental and emotional health?

There are a few ways that you can assess your own mental health, which is vital for maintaining good wellbeing. The best way to assess mental health is through self-reflection and taking the time to analyse your thoughts and feelings. There are a few ways to go about this such as journaling and practising gratitude. 

You can also engage in mindfulness practices and promote these in the workplace to help evaluate emotional health. Some great methods that you can implement are meditation sessions and breathing exercises to help your workforce be more aware of their own mental state.

What might worsen a person's mental health?

Several factors can impact an individual's emotional health and well-being, these can be environmental or social and can have varied effects on someone's emotional state. 

The main things that can worsen mental health are frequent exposure to work-related stress, social isolation, negative thinking patterns and unhealthy lifestyle choices. While these may not result in poor mental health, they can certainly have an effect on an individual's well-being and should be the first areas to look at when someone is suffering from mental health issues. 


Promoting mental health in the workplace is essential for ensuring that your employees are effective and enjoy day-to-day life. By taking time to understand the key pillars of mental health and implementing effective well-being strategies in the workplace, organisations can make a much more supportive environment for their employees. Investing in ways to improve mental health will not only benefit your staff but will also contribute to a healthy, positive and resilient workforce. 

To learn more about how you can implement a positive mental health and well-being strategy within your organisation, view our courses here. Alternatively, contact us to arrange a consultation with one of our experts.