Mental Health Awareness Week runs from 18 -25 May and this years’ theme is ‘kindness’.
It celebrates all acts of kindness which have taken place during Covid-19 – from neighbours doing shopping for those who are self-isolating to those volunteering their time to befriending help lines.
The week is run by leading charity the Mental Health Foundation whose work includes research, advice and campaigning to address the causes of poor mental health.
With the current coronavirus pandemic – Chief Executive Mark Rowland thinks this will be the most important week they have run so far.
He says: ‘… Kindness strengthens relationships, develops community and deepens solidarity.
“It is a cornerstone of our individual and collective mental health… Wisdom from every culture across history recognises that kindness is something that all human beings need to experience and practise to be fully alive.
“But we also want to shine a light on the ways that kindness is already flowering at this time. We have seen it in the dancing eyes of 100-year-old Captain Tom Moore as he walked his garden to raise money for the NHS and in the mutual aid groups responding to local needs.
“We want that kindness to spread further in every community in the UK…Finally, we want to use the week to explore the sort of society we would like to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.”
For a list of information about getting involved and resources visit https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week
Here are some of the other things happening both locally and nationally:
Changes Bristol also has resources, including lists of support groups and a video about being kind to yourself: https://changesbristol.org.uk/tag/mentalhealthawareness/
Community Access Support Service (CASS) works with community, equality and faith groups to improve awareness of mental health and provide better links to support services in Bristol.
As well as providing a directory of services, the organisation has produced an Unwind to be Kind Mindfulness audio as well as a set of Five Ways to Wellbeing videos with North Bristol Networker David, based at Southmead Development Trust.
CASS also has a Wellbeing in South Bristol – Staying at Home newsletter which can be accessed on Facebook or if you message them you can be emailed a PDF.
You can also read this month’s Bristol Mind’s Mental Health and Wellbeing newsletter on its website.
Time to Change which aims to reduce stigma around mental health has produced an activity pack for workplaces to mark Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) – which includes information around sleep disorders.
Off the Record (OTR) Bristol is a charity working with young people aged 11-25 and during the week has started a Thank You Campaign to show the power of collective and everyday acts of kindness https://twitter.com/otrbristol/status/1262699049905463297?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet
Creative Youth Network is working with some of the most vulnerable young people “ensuring they are safe and have a listening ear while in lockdown.”
The organisation has produced a video for every day of MHAW on how you can be kind to yourself.
Oasis Talk is a local social enterprise providing psychological therapies and is currently offering free support to various groups.
In partnership with Bristol Age UK, it is giving free Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and counselling by phone to anyone aged over 50.
It also provides a free anxiety helpline for people on low incomes – and is offering large discounts for everyone else. Call 0117 9277 577 to see if you are eligible.
Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) charity Nilaari is also giving up to six free sessions of emotional therapeutic support by phone, prioritising people from a BAME community who are over 55 or who have recently lost a loved one. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0117 962 5742.
Knowle West Podcast includes a piece on Mental Health and Covid-19 with local interviews from Dan Lewin from CASS and yoga teacher Kelly Sheldrick.
While the BBC is currently running a season of television programmes and radio broadcasts around mental health to help people in these “turbulent times.” Visit https://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2020/mental-health-season