Our take on Mental Health Awareness Week
Millions of UK adults have felt panicked, afraid and unprepared because of the coronavirus pandemic.
That’s according to a study commissioned by Mental Health Foundation (MHF), conducted in partnership with the Institute of Public Health at the University of Cambridge.
So it seemed that this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week could be the most important — not least because of the longer-term psychological and social impacts the pandemic’s likely to cause.
The theme was kindness, in part according to the MHF, to “explore the sort of society we would like to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic”.
We’ve supported Mental Health Awareness Week in the past, including in 2017 when we focused our fundraising efforts on mental health charities, and we know that an added benefit of helping others is that it is good for our own mental health and wellbeing.
With that in mind, last week, we took part in four specially chosen challenges. These were to —
- Choose a random act of kindness
- Do something just for ourselves
- Find a new interest or hobby
- Get some exercise
Luckily we’ve a great bunch of colleagues with diverse interests, so we had some brilliant examples.
What we did
For random acts of kindness, one solicitor bought cupcakes (mid cycle ride) to donate to charity, another colleague left decorated stones out for children to find; someone baked for friends who’d announced they were expecting and another sent greetings cards to a grandparent saying how much they were missed.
A private client partner donated to a friend who was completing an ironman challenge for the Trussell Trust, which has a network of foodbanks, and another colleague volunteered at a community hospital supporting people with dementia.
When it came to doing something for themselves, hobbies or getting exercise, one partner picked flowers from her garden to brighten up her home office, others went out for runs to blow away the cobwebs, enjoyed yoga, cross-stitched and even dry cured bacon!
From my perspective, after waving to the postie from the front window every day for the past eight weeks, I offered him a couple of Twix from our lockdown stash. He said it made his day; lots of folks are “too scared” to speak to him, which is understandable but such a shame. And that random act of kindness made me feel that little bit better.
I’m proud of how my colleagues rose to the challenge.
And from what I’ve seen elsewhere across the news and social media, it seems one thing that’s prevailing in these strange times is kindness. So in amongst the awfulness of coronavirus, it’s heartening to see great examples of community, support and hope.
You can find out more about what the Mental Health Foundation is doing to help people throughout the pandemic and beyond, on its website.
Meanwhile, here’s to kindness.