Blog — Mental Health Awareness Week 2020
Mental health problems can affect anyone, at any time that’s what makes mental health everyone’s business. So, for one week each May, there’s a campaign around a theme for Mental Health Awareness Week to start conversations and take actions that can change and even save lives. This year that theme is kindness.
Why Kindness? HELP OTHERS & HELP YOURSELF
One thing that we have seen all over the world is that kindness is prevailing in these uncertain times. We have learnt that amid the fear, there is also community, support and hope. You may have heard this famous quote before, ‘No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted’. That was quoted by famous Greek fabulist Aesop, and he was correct! Kindness promotes empathy and compassion; which in turn, leads to a sense of interconnectedness with others. … When we practice random acts of kindness, It releases positivity: We feel better and the recipients of our acts feel better, which then makes them more likely to be kind to other people. Kindness is our superpower.
That’s where you come in every day starting Monday 18th May we’re asking everybody to join with our 7 days of kindness challenge, to take small daily acts that start change and earn your kindness Superhero status.
VIRTUAL ACT 1 – REACH OUT TO SOMEBODY
Know someone who might need companionship or support these days — be it a family member or friend? Give them a call, or at least check in with them! You never know how much they may appreciate your company and time.
ACT OF KINDNESS 1
If in addition to self-isolating during the coronavirus outbreak, you can help your neighbours and community by whipping up some delicious treat. It’s no secret that food is a morale and mood booster, so why not gift those in need a thoughtful bake? If you’re avoiding contact with others, you can simply leave these bakes on your neighbour’s front doorstep. Plus, baking is a great way to reduce any coronavirus-induced stress and anxiety. Try Asda’s recipe for White Chocolate Rocky Road, this no-bake indulgence will take you and the lucky recipient right back to every childhood celebration! Get the recipe here: white-chocolate-rocky-road
VIRTUAL ACT 2 – SHARE A VIRTUAL HUG
Right now, just when we need it most, we cannot give everyone a warm and reassuring cuddle. So send a virtual hug instead — one that will hopefully bring some light into the dark place a friend or family member could be in during lockdown and isolation. Get the hug to share here: https://gph.is/g/4oRgpO1
ACT 2, SHARE A GOOD BOOK
Share a Good Book. Finished a great read? Next time you’re out, leave it for a neighbour, or on a park bench. It’s not littering, it’s “literaturing”. Nervous to share a physical copy? Send a digital version instead.
VIRTUAL ACT 3 – CUSTOMERS SAY THANKS
Since the #YourCustomersSayThankYou virtual thank you note platform was set up in early April, online messages have poured in from across the country in a show of support for key grocery workers. Add you thanks today!
ACT 3, VOICE YOUR GRATITUDE
Thank your supermarket cashier
We don’t think of these folks as on the front lines but they are. Small acts of kindness can go a long way right now. And saying a simple “thanks” is one of the easiest things you can do any time you walk through the checkout line. Now, more than ever, don’t rush that gesture. Make eye contact, and let them know that you really value what they do If time allows, ask how they’re feeling, what they’re looking forward to when this is over, or the best thing that happened this week. This can help you both find optimism in an otherwise challenging time.
Pay it forward At the supermarket, it’s easy to do. Buying a chocolate bar for yourself? Pick out two and give one to the cashier on your way out. Better yet, if there are items near the cash register, treat them to something they can pick out themselves.
VIRTUAL ACT 5, PLEDGE TO THE PLANET
Honour and acknowledge the Earth for all that it gives to us. Every bit counts when you put into perspective that this is our home, which we will pass down from one generation to the next.
My pledge to the planet. Take action and be kinder to the earth, share your vows to become a greener citizen on social media as witness.
ACT 5 BE KIND TO THE PLANET
Ask the UK government to take decisive climate action.
The clock is still ticking on our chance to stop climate breakdown. People power has already pushed the UK Parliament to declare a climate emergency. Now we need to turn these words into action and make sure our leaders build climate-friendly communities across the country – with warm homes, clean air, green jobs and thriving wildlife. Join Friends of the Earth in wanting the UK government to adopt our Climate Action Plan by the end of 2020. Sign the petition here
VIRTUAL ACT 6, TAKE A DIGITAL DETOX
Digital wellbeing is a major thing these days and how to maintain a healthy relationship with technology and the internet. But apart from trying to spend less time in front of a screen each day, it is good sometimes to go completely offline and focus on yourself, rather than infinitely strolling on your feed or looking for the perfect background for your next selfie. Get digital fasting tips: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifehack/lifehack-challenge-24-hour-digital-fast.html
Share our special created closed posts to let your friends and family know that you are planing a digital detox from when to when and ask for their help and support it might also encourage them to do the same.
ACT 6, BE KIND TO YOU
This entire situation is incredibly draining so you mustn’t forget about yourself in all of this. Self-care is never selfish. It’s simply a way to help the body and mind relax and re-charge. You can earn to practice mindfulness or meditation, go for a walk; read a book; do a jigsaw or a puzzle book.
Your local mental health charity and source of great help is Washington Mind https://www.washingtonmind.org.uk/ The Mental Health Foundation also has lots of help and useful publications to look after your wellbeing during the pandemic https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/coronavirus
VIRTUAL ACT 7, KINDNESS LEGACY,
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS FOR KINDER SOCIETY
If this is the worst of times, it is also the best of times. In our anxiety, we are drawing on the strength of others. In our isolation, we are rediscovering community. In our confusion, we are thinking whom we trust. In our fragmentation, we are rediscovering the value of institutions.
There may be much stress and sorrow in the months ahead. But a kind of better future feels entirely visible. Love, humanity and kindness may yet win.
Share your ideas using the hashtag #KindnessMatters and #MentalHealtAwarenessWeek you can tag us in at @AyrCentral
ACT 7, THE ENDURING GIFT OF KINDNESS, VOLUNTEER
There are plenty of great opportunities for virtual volunteering during this pandemic without putting yourself at risk, we’ve found a mix of online volunteering opportunities you can do from home.
Mentor children overseas. Become part of School in the Cloud’s international network, Granny Cloud. Contrary to what the name may suggest, you don’t have to be a granny to get involved, http://thegrannycloud.org/
Break down stereotypes. Project Implicit is a non-profit network of researchers investigating the subconscious way our minds work. Volunteers take psychological tests online to help scientists better understand society’s hidden prejudices and how we might tackle them. https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/aboutus.html
Make your neighbourhood more accessible. by ranking shops and restaurants for their disabled-friendly credentials. Enter your postcode on the AXS Map website to bring up a map and list of businesses. You can then rate these using a star system and also leave reviews. https://www.axsmap.com/
Micro volunteer. Want to volunteer in bitesize chunks without committing to anything regular? Then ‘micro-volunteering’ could be for you. Check out the micro-volunteering website Help From Home. https://www.helpfromhome.org/
Use your professional skills for good. Do you have proven research, training or project management skills? The United Nations Volunteering (UNV) programme is packed with worldwide opportunities. https://www.onlinevolunteering.org/en
Lend someone your vision. Thanks to the Be My Eyes app, virtual volunteers can help a blind or low-vision person to go about their daily tasks. https://www.bemyeyes.com/
Birdwatching with a purpose. Track your bird sightings via the eBird website and become part of a worldwide network of birdwatchers. Your sightings contribute to hundreds of conservation decisions and peer-reviewed papers and help inform global bird research. https://ebird.org/home
Search on the do-it website for hundreds of home-based volunteering opportunities, many of which can be done online. The Gov.uk’s volunteering section has lots of advice and information on becoming a volunteer and most local councils also list opportunities or organisations in your area that need volunteers. You can also contact Volunteering England, Volunteer Scotland, or Volunteering Matters to find opportunities in your area.