For most people across the UK, the last 12 months will have been an incredibly difficult period of time. With many finding themselves isolated from family and friends. Spending less time socialising and pursuing recreational hobbies, and spending a lot of time indoors. This undoubtedly has an impact on a persons mental wellbeing, particularly amongst those with pre-existing struggles with mental health.
Many will have personally suffered, or noticed a change in those close to us. Mental health and behavioural problems (e.g. depression, anxiety and addiction) are reported to be the primary drivers of disability worldwide, (mentalhealth.org.uk).
As the number of people with worsening mental health increases, the already stretched support available here in the UK becomes even harder to come by. Whilst this is something that needs to change and fast, until that happens it is more important than ever that we do what we can as individuals. Helping both ourselves and each other as we start to ease out of restrictions in search of a normality which seems distant in memory.
Mental Health Awareness week in the UK runs from the 10th-16th of May, and is something that closely aligns with our core values at FC Not Alone. Unity, peace and bravery. Togetherness and the ability to be vocal in search of change is strength. Discussion is essential to breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health. Join us and people all over the UK in showing your support of better mental wellbeing and mindfulness for all.
The theme for this year is nature, and as human beings our need to connect with the outside world is somewhat fundamental.
Chief executive of The Mental Health Foundation Mark Rowland writes: “During Mental Health Awareness Week 2021, we will pull together the evidence that demonstrates the powerful benefits of nature for our mental health. We will look at nature’s unique ability to not only bring consolation in times of stress, but also increase our creativity, empathy and a sense of wonder. It turns out that it is not just being in nature but how we open ourselves up and interact with nature that counts. We will show that even small contacts with nature can reduce feelings of social isolation and be effective in protecting our mental health, and preventing distress.”
Alongside connecting with the outside world, starting conversations is key. Whether you want to share your story publicly, or would only feel comfortable discussing with those close to you. Using your voice to tell others why you’ve joined the fight for better mental health will be so important in helping create meaningful change moving forward.
One could argue that every week should be mental health awareness week, and rightly so. However, having specific weeks of awareness helps to bring discourse around mental health online, in the workplace and at home to the forefront. People may feel more confident to share their story, or see the stories of others and be inspired to donate to initiatives dedicated to support, and that is a powerful thing.
Mental Health UK recently published their ‘Five Ways To Wellbeing’ ahead of next week. Encouraging people to include small but meaningful activities into daily life to improve your mindfulness. Connect – Be Active – Take Notice – Keep learning – Give.
Our good friends at CALM are doing some great work over the coming weeks. Their campaign ‘Spark Change Run’ will be starting up to both get people active and raise money for a great cause.
“Running can spark so many things – from endorphins to creativity, confidence to social connections. Pounding the pavement for just 5 minutes can be enough to spark change in your day, your mood or your life, and with IRL running events offline until autumn(ish), the Spark Change Run is a great way to start running, jogging or a little-bit-of-both-ing. So forget PBs and running a million miles, set yourself a challenge that sparks change. Choose when, where and how long you want to run, and create a run that works for you – all while supporting CALM’s life-saving services. £5 from every run will go towards helping CALM be there for whoever needs us, no matter what.”
There are a number of ways you can get involved in Mental Health Awareness Week, from fundraising to campaigning and raising awareness on social media. There are also webinars taking place and opportunities for employers to access materials for campaigning within the workplace.
There are a number of resources available on the Mental Health Foundation and MIND websites just to name two. Feel free to do your own research online, get involved and become a part of the fight for better mental health.
Mental Health Foundation: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week
Mental Health UK: