Publishers and booksellers are marking Mental Health Awareness Week by holding morning mindfulness sessions, sharing advice from their authors and hosting talks on wellbeing.
The annual campaign runs from 13th to 19th May and this year focuses on body image as a key way to improve mental health.
In the book world, Usborne is leading the way with a month-long social media campaign on mental health awareness throughout May, including mindful and calming activities on Instagram stories. This week, the theme is body positivity and it will be sharing an extract from Jemima Small Versus the Universe by Tamsin Winter, content from Looking After Your Mental Health on body positivity, interactive Instagram stories and a care package competition. Next week will focus on nature and getting outdoors, with talking about your feelings being the final theme for May.
Over at HarperCollins, the News Building is featuring mental health animations in the main lobby. On 14th May author and journalist John-Paul Flintoff will talk about how he went from being on top to having a breakdown and spending eight weeks in psychiatric hospital. On Friday ex-Buddhist monk Nick Kientsch will run a series of ‘Morning Mindfulness’ sessions for staff. The firm will also be highlighting some of its books on social media including Skogluft by Jorn Viumdal (Harper Thorsons), The Yogic Kitchen by Jody Vassallo (HQ), How to Fail by Elizabeth Day (Fourth Estate), and 365 Days Wild by Lucy McRobert (William Collins).
Pins marking the week are being sold at Pan Macmillan’s reception, with a healthy breakfast for staff on 14th May and a mindfulness session the following day. Alongside web, blog and video content from Bluebird authors, Pan Mac will heavily promote a video from Book Break with tips on how to relieve stress. Bluebird authors Jonny Benjamin, Natasha Devon, Shahroo Izadi and Owen O'Kane will be taking part in events throughout the week. A video of Isaac Carew visiting the Mind Hackney Recovery Centre last week to cook with service users will also be released.
Hodder will be sharing wisdom from the body positivity titles on its Yellow Kite imprint, from fitness to mental resilience and beyond. Its Instagram channels will be putting out advice from the likes of Shona Vertue who wrote The Vertue Method, an exercise book from a woman who is outspoken about the importance of training for strength and ability, and Amy Morin’s 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do, focusing on chapters including ‘They Don’t Compare Themselves to Other People’ and ‘They Don’t Feel Bad about Reinventing Themselves’. They will also be sharing insight from Hazel Gale, a therapist and author of The Mind Monster Solution which encourages readers to build resilience and confidence from within, underpinned by her own struggles with mental health and burnout. Walking therapist and author of Walk With Your Wolf, Jonathan Hoban, will also feature with advice on how to reframe internal narratives.
Bonnier will be focusing on My Sh*t Therapist by Michelle Thomas (Blink), sharing videos of the author reading from her book and talking about her experiences with mental health. Every day, she’ll focus on a new chapter, chatting about topics including what has worked for her and any bad advice she has received in the past. Blink will also be running a book giveaway a day throughout the week from its Twitter account.
The Hachette Wellbeing Network is hosting a variety of talks, classes and activities to promote mental health and wellbeing. Author Kevin Braddock will talk to staff about his new book, Everything Begins with Asking for Help: An Honest Guide to Depression and Anxiety, from Rock Bottom to Recovery. Meditation sessions will be held in the building, as will a yoga therapy for insomniacs session. Lisa Sanfilippo will teach breathing exercises that can help people get to sleep, stay asleep, rest well and find sustainable energy during the day. She is the author of Yoga Therapy for Insomnia and Sleep Recovery: An Integrated Approach to Supporting Healthy Sleep and Sustaining Energy All Day.
As with previous years, Cambridge University Press is has made collection of work by leading writers and researchers free to access throughout May. The collection contains a wide range of online book chapters, journal articles, and blog posts featuring the latest research on mental health. CUP will also share thoughts on social media from managers and directors who have received Mind training about breaking down stigmas around the subject. Talks and activities are also being run for staff.
Canongate’s activities centre around Matt Haig’s Notes on a Nervous Planet. The publisher used social media to recruit 100 people who would give the book to five people. It has also joined up with Wagamama, which will release a video of Haig speaking in its Brighton restaurant about mental health in modern society and launch a giveaway to 7,000 staff on its internal Facebook page as part of the Open Mouths Open Minds initiative with Mind.
As it did last year, Waterstones has a dedicated webpage full of recommended reading. The chain has included a selection of books that promote a kinder attitude to our bodies and a more inclusive attitude to those around us. It will be supported with selected social media posts.
The Booksellers Association will be using social media to signpost members to Retail Trust resources, including a free wellbeing service.