Today marks the launch of Mental Health Awareness Week, the UK’s national week to raise awareness of mental health.
The week, which is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, is in its 20th year and runs from 18-24 May.
This year, the theme for the week is kindness. Across the country, people will be celebrating kindness in a range of digital and creative ways within social distancing restrictions. In North Devon, Selaine Saxby will be sharing acts of kindness from across the constituency on her social media and sharing details on her website of how you can access mental health support if you need it; www.selainesaxby.org.uk/mental-health-support.
Selaine Saxby, said:
“These past weeks and months have been mentally challenging for all of us having to completely change the way we live. Not being able to see loved ones, isolating alone, not being able to get outside as often or feeling trapped at home have taken a toll on our mental health.
However, despite the difficulties we have seen, the kindness of individuals and communities across North Devon shines brighter than ever before. Delivering shopping, a quick phone call or even a simple smile and a wave, these personal connections between families, friends and neighbours have made all the difference to helping people cope in this difficult time.
We should always consider the mental health of ourselves and others, and I am pleased that this Mental Health Awareness Week is focussing on, and celebrating, those small acts of kindness that we see across North Devon every day.”
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 to 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.”
How to get involved 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 in your family, school, workplace and community to join with thousands in practising acts of kindness to others and to yourself during the week.