Looking after our mental health has never been more important. As we focus on the threats currently being posed to our physical health, we must remember the toll that this can take on us mentally, especially as we spend more time at home and our regular social activities are put on hold.
This week (18th - 24th May) is Mental Health Awareness Week - ‘the UK’s national week to raise awareness of mental health and mental health problems and inspire action to promote the message of good mental health for all’, hosted by the Mental Health Foundation (MHF). The focus this year is on the power and potential of kindness, a fitting theme given the current situation we face as a global society. Research by MHF shows that ‘protecting our mental health is going to be central to us coping with and recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.’
Whether it’s picking up the phone to an elderly relative, choosing to shop locally, or even the efforts of Captain Tom Moore raising money for the NHS, acts of kindness have been all around us throughout the past few months. And this week, it is hoped that kindness will spread even further.
Kindness can be something you do for another person, but it can also be doing something for yourself, whichever it is, acts of kindness are motivated by a genuine desire to make a positive difference. Research shows that kindness and our mental health are intrinsically linked, with altruism (helping others) being proven to have a positive impact on your own mental wellbeing by:
- Promoting physiological changes in the brain that are linked to happiness, improving our feelings of confidence and control
- Creating a sense of belonging by connecting us with our community, even if we can’t all be together at the moment
- Putting things into perspective by helping you to see the bigger picture and the things that you are grateful for in your own life.
Looking after your own mental health
But besides helping your mental health through acts of kindness, there are so many ways we can prioritise our mental wellbeing and ensure we are doing our very best to protect it throughout this time. Many of our customers and partners are providing fantastic tips, advice and activities to help us all to improve our mental wellbeing, whether in our working or personal lives.
Funded by the NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group, MindWell provides quick and simple information for looking after your mental health. Our customer at Platform, mHabitat delivers the MindWell website in partnership with Volitio. Every day throughout this week, MindWell is exploring different themes and activities relating to kindness. There will be a whole host of new resources which will help us all think about how we can be kind to ourselves and others; from improving our self-care routines to being kind to others, there are lots of ideas as to how we can positively impact the people and world around us.
Altruist Enterprises Ltd
As we’re all faced with new challenges in our new ways of working and living, Altruist Enterprises, our customer at Innovation Birmingham, has committed to supporting positive mental health during these strange times.
The team at Altruist Enterprises includes mental health experts with over 200 years’ of experience. To help you stay well while working from home, the team has developed a ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’ course providing practical tips and techniques through training videos, meditation audio and more.
Taking care of your employees’ wellbeing
Things are tough for businesses, and keeping your team healthy and motivated should be a key focus. To help you to boost morale, reduce anxiety and keep company culture strong, our customer, Kaido has designed a specific wellbeing package to support businesses through the crisis. There’s fun daily challenges that teams can take part in together and, according to Kaido, 86% of employees notice an improvement in their health and 76% say they're more motivated at work.
Giving back to your community
Over in Liverpool, our partners at An Hour For Others are bringing communities together to inspire much needed social change. Throughout the pandemic, the team has added hundreds of new volunteers to its data; partnered with local businesses to not only support them, but provide food hampers to vulnerable families; and set up a support line for elderly people living in isolation. The team is always looking for help from individuals and businesses so get in touch if you’d like to help.
In Manchester, our partners at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) have been overwhelmed with support, receiving donations from businesses and individuals across the region to create wellbeing packages for our key workers in the NHS who are working tirelessly to keep us safe. The MFT Charity has launched the #ThankYouTeamMFT campaign to encourage people to continue supporting local NHS workers through donations so that they can provide on-going staff wellbeing support, training and development over the coming weeks and months.
If you’d like to do your bit for others and spread some kindness, there are lots of ways you can get involved. Have a look at the initiatives and charity programmes taking place in your community and find out how you could donate your time, skills or money to benefit others.