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Mental Health Awareness Week 2020

Mental Health Awareness Week 2020

21st May 2020

What is Mental Health Awareness Week?

Mental Health Awareness Week is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation every year and takes place between the 18th and 24th May 2020. It is the UK’s national week to raise awareness of mental health, the problems and inspire action to promote the message of good mental health for all, this year focusing on ‘kindness’.

What is meant by kindness and how can it improve mental health?

At its core, researchers suggest that kindness is “a gesture motivated by genuine, warm feelings for others”. Kindness often means putting others needs before our own and therefore, is not just an emotion, but is defined by our actions. It may feel intuitive that kindness can help others, but there is a growing body of research to show that being kind also has benefits for our own mental health and wellbeing. Many studies have found that being kind is linked to increased feelings of happiness, wellbeing, and life satisfaction.

In a recent survey conducted by The Mental Health Foundation and YouGov, it was found that 63% of UK adults agree that when other people are kind it has a positive impact on their mental health, and the same proportion agree that being kind to others has a positive impact on their mental health. The research shows that kindness is a remedy to isolation and creates a sense of belonging. It helps reduce stress and brings a fresh perspective, as well as even improving feelings of confidence and optimism.

During the current outbreak that we are facing, maintaining a positive mental health is more important than ever. The Mental Health Foundation has chosen to highlight and celebrate kindness, to others, to ourselves, and in society more broadly, as one way to promote and protect good mental health for all.

Acts of kindness you can get involved in:

There are many ways you can be kind and spread positive mental health and wellbeing. Here are some ideas and tips that we’ve thought of:

  • 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
  • Find out if a neighbour needs any help with shopping
  • Tell your family how much you love and appreciate them
  • Check on someone you know who is going through a tough time
  • Post a card or letter to someone you are out of touch with
  • Lend your ear – listen to those that need you
  • Think about what you share online – look at the source of the post, and the tone. If it isn’t kind, think twice
  • Be a force against cyber bullying
  • Post positive reviews for great service instead of negative reviews for poor service

Here are some more acts of kindness to inspire you:

Kindness is prevailing in uncertain times.  During the week, The Mental Health Foundation would like you to carry out or reflect on an act of kindness. Take a photo or video (with permission!) and use the hashtags: #KindnessMatters #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

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