The importance of being kind is the focus of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, from today 18 to 24 May.
This year’s theme of kindness is a response to the coronavirus pandemic, which is having a huge impact on people’s mental health.
Mental health issues for some people include depression or anxiety, meaning they have feelings which don’t go away and start to affect their lives every day.
Mark Rowland, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation, said: “We want to use Mental Health Awareness Week to celebrate the thousands of acts of kindness that are so important to our mental health. And we want to start a discussion on the kind of society we want to shape as we emerge from this pandemic.”
The foundation has produced a special video called Kindness Matters for Mental Health Awareness Week and can be viewed below.
The Mental Health Foundation has conducted a new survey into kindness, which has found almost two-thirds of people say that when people are kind to them it has a positive impact on their mental health.
The survey also found that almost two-thirds of people find that being kind to others has a positive impact on their mental health and almost three-quarters say it is important that we learn from the coronavirus pandemic to be more kind as a society.
Forty-eight percent of the people surveyed said that “being kind to myself” had a positive impact on their mental health.
Speaking about the survey, Mr Rowland said: “At one level, kindness can be as simple as phoning a friend who is lonely or thanking a colleague for something they have done. However, to have a major impact on improving our mental health, we need to take kindness seriously as a society.”
The charity is asking the government to think about kindness when they are making decisions about how the country is run.
In Allerdale, organisations are being encouraged to send out the same health promotion messages at the same time to maximise health and well-being across the borough. The Allerdale Health & Wellbeing Forum has produced a resource pack to help organisations share the key messages from this year’s ‘Kindness’ campaign.
On behalf of the forum, Valerie Ayre, Public Health Locality Manager at Cumbria County Council, said: “With nearly every facet of society altered by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, now more than ever, we would like to continue with our co-ordinated approach to health and well-being across Allerdale by actively encouraging organisations to deliver the same health promotion messages at the same time. This will not only improve better co-ordination of services within our integrated Health & Care community but maximise health and well-being outcomes too.
“This week’s ‘Kindness’ campaign couldn’t be more important or timely during the Mental Health Foundation’s National Mental Health Awareness Week, with many people feeling anxious, worried or isolated during these challenging times.”
Being kind can significantly improve our physical and emotional wellbeing – whether we are giving or receiving it.
There have even been scientific studies into the effects of kindness, showing that acts of kindness help your immune system, reduces stress, gives you energy and are good for your heart!
The power of being kind goes even further, it has been proven to slow ageing, improve relationships and it’s contagious!
Anyone who is worried about mental health, wellbeing, or who has any questions, should speak to an adult that you trust – such as a teacher or an older relative – or speak to your local doctor or call Childline for free on 0800 11 11. This number does not show up on a phone bill.