We look at ways to support this year’s theme by being kind to yourself and others
The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness week is kindness. The Mental Health Foundation website has resources and information to help, including a special section on mental health during the Coronavirus pandemic.
We can all play a part in helping to support people around us who are affected by mental illness. The lockdown and social distancing do not have to be a barrier to this, and can be seen as an opportunity to get involved with your community and make improvements.
Share your experiences
Sharing your experience of mental ill-health can help people who are struggling and feel isolated. It can encourage others to reach out and open up about the way they are feeling. Social media can play a huge part in this. Many people feel pressure to depict their lives as “perfect”, but try being more honest and see how people respond. You may be surprised by how many people will respond with a similar level of openness and honesty.
Play a part in your community
Whether it’s online, checking in on your neighbours or joining a peer support group, show people that you’re listening and that you care. No one going through a difficult time should feel alone. Lots of local communities have social media groups where people can ask for help or can offer help, whether that be checking up on vulnerable people, helping out with shopping or setting up a book, toy or jigsaw swap in your local supermarket.
Respond with kindness
You never know what someone else might be going through. It can still be difficult to talk about the realities of mental illness, but it’s important that we listen and respond with kindness. Try not to judge. Different people have different ways of dealing with their problems and different coping mechanisms.
Try a simple act of kindness, like putting a card through your neighbour’s door with a few kind words, or write a letter to a friend or family member who you haven’t seen because of the lockdown.
Be kind to yourself
Find time to do something that you enjoy doing – even if that is literally sitting and doing nothing. Read a book, go for a walk, sit in the sun, have a bath in the afternoon, watch your favourite film. Try a meditation or mindfulness app on your phone or do a session on YouTube.
Get more involved