MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK

Mental Health Awareness Week will take place from 18-24 May 2020. The theme is 'kindness'

 

You may recognise the expression “it is better to give than receive”, but did you know this is backed up by research?  

People who are kind and compassionate see clear benefits to their wellbeing and happiness. They may even live longer. Kindness can also help reduce stress and improve our emotional wellbeing.  

We all have so much going on in our lives - including competing strains and stresses – not to mention the current coronavirus pandemic. This can see kindness pushed to one side, in favour of what is urgent or trending now.  

It can be easy to signal kindness by posting online and following a trend, but harder to commit to kindness in our daily words and actions.   

But if we take the time to be kind to other people, we can reap the emotional dividends. It can really make a difference and especially for people who are vulnerable or struggling.   

Now is the time to re-imagine a kinder society that better protects our mental health.  

Helping others feels good  

Studies have found that acts of kindness are linked to increased feelings of wellbeing. Helping others can also improve our support networks and encourage us to be more active.This, in turn, can improve our self-esteem.There is some evidence to suggest that when we help others, it can promote changes in the brain that are linked with happiness. 

It helps to make the world a happier place – one act of kindness can often lead to more!  

Acts of kindness have the potential to make the world a happier place. An act of kindness can boost feelings of confidence, being in control, happiness and optimism.  

They may also encourage others to repeat the good deeds they’ve experienced themselves – contributing to a more positive community.

Here are some ideas about getting involved:    

  • Volunteer for a local community organisation  

  • Offer your expertise and support as a mentor for those who are struggling  

  • Check in safely with a neighbour who is isolated or shielding  

  • See if there’s anything you can do to support your children’s school or nursery – offer to read stories by video for example  

  • Involve your friends and neighbours in community projects   

There are lots of other ways you can get involved:  

  • Follow your chosen charity on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and join in with the conversation  

  • Sign-up to receive your charity’s newsletter and keep up to date with the work they’re doing. You can sign up to the Mental Health Foundation’s newsletter here: mentalhealth.org.uk/newsletter  

  • Plan a fundraising event in your local community or at work once it’s safe – why not try our Tea & Talk event, or a  virtual challenge during coronavirus restrictions?  

  • Raise money by taking part in a fun active challenge, such as a 5k run or walk in fancy dress, or maybe a themed sports day. Again, this might need to be online for a while, due to coronavirus.  

Acts of kindness 

Acts of kindness have the potential to make the world a happier place.

We want to see a world where kindness is built into business decisions, government policy and official systems. However, we can start by individual commitment to showing kindness in our words and our actions. 

You might want to do something for someone else or take note if you experience an act of kindness.  

Not sure where to start?   

The Mental Health Foundation have put together some suggestions to help you out…  

At home and in your community  

  • Call a friend who you haven’t spoken to for a while  

  • Post a card or letter to someone you are out of touch with  

  • Send flowers to a friend, out of the blue  

  • Find out if a neighbour needs any help with shopping  

  • Ring someone who is on their own, or video call them  

  • Send someone a handwritten thank you note  

  • Tell your family how much you love and appreciate them  

  • Help with household chores  

  • Offer to help an elderly or vulnerable neighbour  

  • Check on someone you know who is going through a tough time 

  • Follow the rules on social isolation – but don’t make negative assumptions about others 

  • Wish a passer-by a good morning or afternoon from an appropriate distance (2 metres or more) 

  • Smile and say hello to people you may pass every day, but have never spoken to before from an appropriate distance (2 metres or more)

 

Useful organisations and information

Mental Health Foundation

Do-it

International Voluntary Service  

Kindness UK

Samaritans

  

Source: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week