Mental Health Awareness Week 2024


Mental Health Awareness Week 2024 provided a variety of activities that supported our community in finding moments for movement in their daily routines, navigating career moves, managing transitions, making lifestyle changes, and shifting perspectives.

This successful programme demonstrates Imperial's commitment to fostering a culture of wellbeing and care. The week was opened by Daniela Bultoc, Staff Wellbeing Lead, with a fascinating panel discussion that brought together Imperial experts who shared their expertise in science, art and movement to support wellbeing. We would like to say a special thanks to our panel:

  • Martina di Simplicio (Mental Imagery-Based Cognition)
  • Mandy Seligman (Positive Psychology & Arts)
  • Christopher-James Harvey (Lifestyle Medicine & Prevention)
  • Andrea Giraldez-Hayes (Positive Psychology & Arts).

As part of the Imperial "SeeingHappy" Challenge and Exhibition, we had the honour of hearing the story of this initiative directly from the founder of SeeingHappy, Mandy Seligman. Thank you to all those who participated in the challenge, and congratulations to Monika Koziel, Library User Services Coordinator, the photo challenge winner.

We also had the opportunity to watch and discuss with Marie McLeod the screening of How to Thrive: A Practical Guide to Happiness, a feature documentary exploring the science of happiness and applying it to situations where people experience struggle. One of the participants said, "I thought having Marie there in person for a Q&A worked extremely well. I loved the open conversation on how ideas and tools from the session could be incorporated into POD's staff wellbeing offering."

Summary highlights

This year, we offered around 1,300 places throughout the week, and we had over 900 registrations and about 600 people attending, of which 7% were students. In terms of evaluation:

  • 88% found the sessions they attended useful,
  • 93% said they would apply what they learned,
  • 91% found the facilitators to be excellent.

Here are some quotes with feedback from the participants:

  • Brilliant! It was an amazing start to the week and an opportunity to hear from subject matter experts to allow us to reflect on the resilience of our wellbeing both now and for the longer term (Panel Discussion)
  • A simple two-minute exercise gave me enough to reflect on for the next few months through simple tools to practice daily, and as these accumulate, they result in long-term happiness (Flourishing through Photography)
  • This was an inspiring story about how we can see the world around us and its meaningfulness… it provoked self-reflection and stimulated a desire for self-betterment ('How to Thrive' – screening and discussion)
  • You are not what your thoughts are. Control your thoughts before they become behaviours (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for beginners - webinar)
  • I felt instantly better about how I approach work challenges, and I learned something about myself in a fun way (Collaborating for good mental health using Lego®SeriousPlay®)
  • A helpful session for tips and to consider other ways of looking at what you want from a role and to learn different approaches one can take to developing their career (Career Moves: Cultivating your Career)
  • I found the opportunity to take a break from work and do something creative to be really useful. I will use this to better plan breaks in my week and use the painting skills I learned (Sip and Paint: A Mindful Painting Workshop).
  • This open and inclusive information session for parents and careers was well hosted and provided a great opportunity to ask questions (Parents, Carers and Benefits Workshop)
  • I really liked the scientific research examples and the literature references of various experts about the psychology and physiology of change (Embracing Change and Transition Workshop).
  • It was helpful to hear about the sessions available at Imperial to spot early signs of mental health issues. As an academic tutor, these will be very useful when I have conversations with my tutees (Mental Health First Aid Briefing).

Thank you, everyone, for prioritising your health and wellbeing, and please get in touch with the POD Staff Wellbeing Team with any questions, information, or further feedback.