This week is Mental Health Awareness week, running from 18th-24th May 2020 and organised by the Mental Health Foundation. The theme for this year is ‘Kindness’ and was changed only last month from the original theme ‘Sleep’ in direct response to the Covid-19 crisis.
The Mental Health Foundation website explains that this is to highlight that even in the difficult times people around the world are facing right now, kindness is one way we can all provide support and hope for ourselves and our local communities. This is something we at South Bucks Counselling believe to be very important as well.
Giving our time and effort to others can have a great effect on our mental health, so we’ve compiled a list of ways you can join in with the week through carrying out acts of kindness towards others:
· Call a friend or relative to check in - give a friend a call to let them know you’re thinking about them. A friendly voice can have a very positive effect on our mental health and in difficult times can mean a great deal to each of us. Taking five minutes out of your day to let someone know you care is a quick and easy way to get involved in Mental Health Awareness week, and could have a positive effect on you both.
· Send a care package to a loved one - this doesn’t have to be anything big or extravagant, but it can be a great way to help out someone who needs it, or just make someone smile.
· Check in with your neighbours - if you have neighbours who are elderly or vulnerable, perhaps a key worker, or even just someone exactly the same as you, check in and see how they’re doing. It might be something as simple as asking if they need any essential items on your way to the shops, or having a (socially distanced) chat over the fence, a bit of neighbourly kindness can go a long way.
· Smile - whether you’re at work, going for a walk in the park or waiting in the queues at your local supermarket for your weekly shop, make an effort to smile at the people you meet. It might surprise you what effects a smile and a sunny disposition can have on the people around you.
· Spread the word - talk to the people you know about Mental Health Awareness week, if you use social media maybe post about it on there, encourage the people you come into contact with to take a look at how they can contribute by being kind to others and themselves, and keeping the conversation about mental health going.
· Volunteering - Another great way to get involved in Mental Health Awareness Week is through giving back to your local area. See how you could get involved with volunteering communities both local and elsewhere to make your contribution to kindness. A great place to start for local volunteering is the Buckinghamshire Council Website, where they have dedicated pages for volunteering in the local area. There is also a dedicated page for how you can help and support your local community with Covid-19 related issues. For further volunteering opportunities, visit websites like Do-It.org, Reach Volunteering or search for opportunities with local charities online.
There are lots of other ways in which you can get involved in Mental health awareness week and lots of other acts of kindness which you could decide to do. In our next post we’ll focus on how we can get involved in Mental Health Awareness Week through acts of kindness directed towards ourselves.