9 May 2022

Mental Health Awareness Week 9 - 15 May

This year’s theme is loneliness, which is affecting more and more of us in the UK.

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week from 9 to 15 May and this year’s theme is loneliness. Many people experience loneliness over their lifetime, for differing periods of time, but long periods of loneliness can have a huge impact on people’s mental and physical health.

Loneliness has been brought into sharp focus over the last two years because of the pandemic. With covid lockdowns came restrictions stopping us from doing the things that we took for granted, and many of us weren’t able to see friends, family or our work colleagues for months or even more. The loss of human contact left a big hole for many people.

There was extra pressure put on those that were high risk or clinically vulnerable to catching the virus and becoming severely ill which meant they had to isolate or shield for months on end.

A recent study conducted by The Mental Health Foundation found that during the lockdowns, loneliness was almost three times that of pre-pandemic level. The study showed that people with long-term physical conditions, people on lower incomes and people with existing mental health problems were more likely to experience loneliness compared to the general UK population.

So, what can we do to boost our mental well-being and combat loneliness? Here are some steps members can take:

  • Tell a colleague, friend or family member how you are feeling as this can help to alleviate the feeling of loneliness and improve your mental health,
  • Now covid restrictions have been lifted, make plans to see your work colleagues, family and friends – having something to look forward to can really boost your mental health,
  • Exercise and eating well can make a big difference to overall health and wellbeing,
  • Consider enrolling on a PCS Mental Health in the Workplace course. A one day course is running on 10 June (North-West, Yorkshire & Humberside, Northern, Midlands, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland and it runs on 14 and 21 July as two half days (London & South-East, South West and Eastern regions)
  • Take a look at the PCS mental health resources in Knowledge on PCS Digital,
  • Look at the resources on the website of Mind, the mental health charity,
  • Read Tony Moore, national disabled members’ forum representative’s blog on loneliness.