Poor mental health is the single largest contributor to disease in the UK and regularly experienced by 1 in 4 adults. Yet, all too often, mental health has been confused (and stigmatised) with common mental health disorders and has subsequently ended up becoming a discussion that few have been willing to engage in.

One of the most pressing issues towards breaking the mental health stigma involves getting people to talk openly about it. Similar to physical health, everyone has mental health. Put simply, mental health can be good or bad depending on how much we look after it.

Good mental health ensures we are content and can thrive. It allows us to feel calm, self-confident, deal with change, and cope with daily stresses. It ensures we communicate clearly, be highly motivated and be productive in the workplace. When we face struggles with our mental health (often a result of a significant life event, sudden change or a lack of control) our mood diminishes and energy levels plummet. We can feel nervous and apprehensive. Some may suffer low self-esteem, experience anxiety and have trouble sleeping. All of which can lead to a heightened risk of engaging in unhealthy behaviours as an unconscious form of coping mechanism.

However, a shifting paradigm is starting to emerge. Society is beginning to open its eyes (and lend its ears) to the mental health conversation. Without a doubt, a major catalyst for this has been the rise in high profile individuals publicly sharing their personal struggles.

The Duke of Sussex has arguably been mental health’s leading advocate in recent times; sharing frank and honest recounts of how childhood tragedy has affected his mental health throughout his adult years, whilst also being an ambassadorial voice behind the quest to normalise mental health conversations.

Here at Champion Health, we firmly believe that mental health stigma will only break when we begin to view it in the same way as our physical health. We associate fitness with being the sole byproduct of our physical health. But we must now begin to consider the condition of our mental health as a significant factor impacting physical and mental fitness.

This is why our team have designed ‘The Champions Framework’ as part of our new digital mental health training platform for businesses. There are reportedly 1.3million workers in the UK suffering from work-related ill-health, with an annual cost to UK businesses of almost £40bn. We are on a mission to disrupt this trend by changing and saving lives through championing mental health in the workplace.

Our digital mental health training platform is now helping support workers and businesses across the country. Our aim is to engage the entire workforce in the mental health conversation. Building on the five ways to wellbeing, The Champions Framework recognises that there are many factors that impact our mental health. Our training engages, educates and empowers users to take back control of the most influenceable factors so that they can begin to build their mental fitness, nourish their mental health and feel confident in their ability to support others. Here are our 9 steps to nourish your mental fitness and become a mental health champion.

Connect: Building and maintaining positive relationships can help you flourish. Humans by nature are social animals.

Help: The first step is always the hardest. Seeking help from trained professionals is crucial if you require it.

Activity: Exercise releases ‘endorphins’ – a hormone which makes you feel good about yourself.

Mindful: Being mindful is defined as being in the present moment. Mindfulness is the practice of this. There is a strong emerging body of research showing the benefits of practising mindfulness for your mental health.

Proactive:  A pro-active approach towards mental health prevents current conditions worsening or future conditions arising. Continually monitor your mental state, and consistently act on problems as early as possible.

Impact:  Have an impact on the people and environment surrounding you. This will encourage feelings of reward. This could range from volunteering for a local homeless charity to small acts of kindness (e.g. expressing gratitude).

Open: Being able to talk openly to family members, friends and colleagues about your mental health (positive or negative) is vital for mental well-being. This could be just 1 person. Ensure you avoid ‘bottling up’ feelings inside.

Nutrition: What we eat and drink effects how we think, feel and behave. Consume nutritious sources of food and minimse alcohol intake. Ensure you are staying adequately hydrated.

Sleep: High quality sleep allows for our body and brain to recover and repair. This removes all of the harmful toxins that have been built up during the day, and prepares you for tomorrow.

People matter. The heart of any successful organisation marches to the beat of happy, healthy and high-performing employees. Implement the Champions Framework, start the conversation today and join thousands of other employees in becoming a workplace health champion.