Mental Health Awareness Week, hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, is an annual, national week established to raise awareness of mental health and inspire action to promote good mental health for all.
Each year focuses on a theme, from stress to relationships. This year, the theme is ‘kindness’, and the Mental Health Foundation thinks that this could be the most important campaign yet.
Research conducted by the Mental Health Foundation has shown that protecting our mental health will be central to coping with and recovering from the coronavirus pandemic. The psychological and social impacts will likely outlast the physical symptoms of the virus, so this year’s theme focuses on the power and potential of kindness to see us through this troubling time.
The impact of human kindness is limitless: it strengthens relationships, develops community and deepens solidarity. Shining examples of kindness have been witnessed worldwide since the outbreak of COVID-19, from the hundreds of thousands of people who signed up to volunteer for the NHS, to the remarkable Captain Tom Moore, who has now raised more than £32 million for NHS Charities Together.
In the spirit of kindness, we wanted to share 10 random acts of #CoronavirusKindness we can all do safely from home, bringing us a bit closer together at a time when it’s so easy to feel completely apart:
- Support a small business: independent businesses have been especially hit by the pandemic, so your support will be hugely appreciated. Facebook and Instagram have both implemented measures to support small businesses at this time, making it even easier for us to do so.
- Send a handwritten note: texts and emails are always appreciated but, now that we all have a bit more time on our hands, why not write a personal, handwritten note and post it to a loved one? This is sure to bring a smile.
- Donate to a charity: like small businesses, charities are equally feeling the full impact of this pandemic and are in need of your support now more than ever. Donating online couldn’t be quicker, easier or safer. Why not donate the cost of your daily coffee to a new charity each day?
- Litter pick while exercising: now is no time to forget about the environment, so if you opt for walking as part of your daily exercise, why not safely collect and dispose of any litter you see along the way? Being kind to the planet counts!
- Say it with flowers: many florists are still in operation at this time, so by sending a loved one a beautiful bouquet, you’ll not only be lifting their spirits but supporting a small business too. Win-win!
- Cook for a neighbour: many of us know elderly or otherwise vulnerable people who would be so grateful for some home-cooked meals or delicious baked goods at this time. Why not share some food with them until you can enjoy a meal together again?
- Offer to do someone’s shopping: similarly, we all know somebody who potentially can’t get to the shops as easily as others can. Offering to pick them up something from the supermarket or add a few items to your online order is an incredibly kind gesture that won’t be forgotten.
- Donate to a food bank: this pandemic has resulted in thousands of people relying on food banks to get by. The Trussell Trust has an online search tool allowing users to locate their nearest food bank and offer support.
- Reach out to the lonely: if you know someone who is seeing through lockdown alone, why not arrange a video call to catch up with them? You could eat dinner or arrange to watch a film at the same time, hopefully helping them to feel less alone.
- Thank a key worker: whether it be your doctor, nurse, delivery driver, bank cashier, supermarket worker, post office assistant or any one of the many others, stopping to sincerely thank them for their service at the time is an important gesture that won’t go unappreciated.
Kindness is a cornerstone of our individual and collective mental health, and the undeniable power of simple acts of kindness have never been more apparent. Against the anxiety, stress and confusion felt worldwide at present, kindness is prevailing, and we all have a small part to play in making sure it continues to do so.