Given the circumstances we are all currently living through, looking after mental health has become more challenging for many.
Today marks the start of the 20th Mental Health Awareness Week. Hosted annually by the Mental Health Foundation, the week aims to raise awareness of mental health.
This year, the theme for the week is kindness. Across the whole of the UK, people will be celebrating kindness in a range ways within the social distancing guidelines we all currently find ourselves in.
Mark Rowland, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, said: “This year may be the most important week we have ever hosted, as we cope with and begin think about recovering from the coronavirus pandemic. We must do all we can to reduce the psychological and social impacts of the pandemic which are likely to last far longer than its physical effects.
“At time when we must socially isolate, stories of kindness have helped spread a shared sense of connection and joy. The research backs this up - kindness is deeply connected to mental health. The message this Mental Health Awareness Week is that kindness matters. It matters to our mental health and it will matter hugely in the society we build from here – one that better protects our mental health.”
Member of Parliament for the Cities of London & Westminster, Nickie Aiken added, “Kindness has been the hallmark of the Two Cities reaction to coronavirus. People from across both the City of London and Westminster have come together to support the most vulnerable through the crisis we are currently facing.
“From my own experience volunteering at Unity Kitchen through Westminster Connects, I have seen the difference that people’s kindness is making first-hand. I would encourage people, if they are able, to give up their own time to help spread kindness.”
How to get involved with Mental Health Awareness week online:
Reflect on an act of kindness. Share your stories and pictures (with permission) of kindness during the week using #KindnessMatters and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek
Use Mental Health Foundation resources to join with thousands in practising acts of kindness to others and to yourself during the week in line with line with social distancing guidelines.
You can find out more about Mental Health Awareness week and find resources produced by the Mental Health Foundation here.
Nickie has also produced a guide to looking after mental health while spending the majority of your time at home. You can find that here.