Be kind this Mental Health Awareness Week

One thing we’ve seen all over the world, is that kindness is taking centre stage during these uncertain times.

Now, more than ever, is the time to get involved and raise awareness of mental health and this year’s theme! Simply put, being kinder in our daily lives can reduce stress and improve our emotional wellbeing and physical health.

Watch a short Kindness matters video on the Mental Health Foundation’s website to find out what this year’s theme is all about.

Get involved

With the COVID-19 outbreak causing so much cause for concern, it’s the ideal time for us all to show each other more kindness and compassion.

Getting involved is so easy! Here are a few ideas:

Random acts of kindness – you could:

  • reach out to friend who you haven’t spoken too in a long time
  • make a cup of tea for someone you live with or arrange to have a virtual cuppa with a colleague
  • give praise to a colleague for something they’ve done well
  • lend your ear – call a colleague and ask how they’re finding the change in routine
  • make a donation to a charity close to your heart.

Be kind to yourself – It can be easy to forget about yourself while practising kindness. However, self-care is essential in maintaining healthy general wellbeing. Treat yourself to something you enjoy, such as watching your favourite film or spending an evening relaxing with a bath and a book.

Juliet Matunge, a mental health practitioner in our CAMHS team, shares the importance of listening:

“In my career as a mental health professional, I’ve become increasingly aware of the importance of listening. Mental health issues can cause distress that gets in the way of our regular activity and relationships.  It can leave someone feeling really lonely, fearful and very upset.

“Listening seems like such a simple thing we may think we do every day, but there is a real difference when it comes to actively listening. When I have spoken to people who have experienced mental illnesses, they often value the one who listened to them. Just listening without needing to advise or direct.

“It is so important we actively listen to others – active listening is all about building rapport, understanding, and trusting in a non-judgemental way. Through active listening, we are able to validate the experience of distress and provide a space for someone to begin to do their own problem solving. Listening can also involve just being in the present without actually having to say anything.

“It is not only important to listen to others but yourself too! Actively listening to yourself is the first step in the right direction. Mindfulness is one way that enables us to listen to our mind, body and emotions. Enabling us to take the right actions to maintain that all important balance which enables us to thrive and to be creative.”

Get help and support

If you need to talk, please reach out to a friend, loved one or a colleague. There’s a number of support services and resources available on the new health and wellbeing support page on AskHUE . One of which is the Employee Assistance Programme, provided by our HR and ODL team. It offers professional and personal advice, support and counselling.

Related article

New health and wellbeing resources available for staff – Thursday 7 May 2020

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