During this Mental Health Awareness Week (May 18th to May 24th, 2020) by the Mental Health Foundation, Fuerteventura Times brings you a special series of daily articles focusing on bringing conscious and responsible awareness about mental health. With a major part of the world locked down, while the other half having passed through a series of personal fears of survival, pandemic, isolation and the uncertainty of future given the wave of recent deaths due to the COVID19, it is now even more important, as a society to collectively shed taboos about speaking about mental wellbeing or the lack of it. This is our first piece of this week´s series supporting the Mental Health Foundation in this remarkable initiative of Mental Health Awareness Week which takes place every year starting second Monday of May. This year´s theme is “kindness”.
Every year the Mental Health Foundation has been focusing on important issues that need our urgent attention and gift of sincere empathy as humanity. With headquarters in the UK, the foundation´s work has been helping spread awareness globally about prevention with a vision is for a world with good mental health for all. While last year´s theme was on eradicating the social construct of body shaming, this year the focus is on Kindness.
“We have chosen kindness because of its singular ability to unlock our shared humanity. 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 recognizes that kindness is something that all human beings need to experience and practice to be fully alive”, adds the Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation- Mark Rowland.
Kindness is an intrinsically risky endeavor. It can risk us looking foolish or being taken advantage of, which is why we sometimes retreat. To receive or to give kindness is an act of courage. We want to use Mental Health Awareness Week to support each other to take that brave step and harness the benefits for both the giver and receiver.
Mental Health Foundation Chief Executive, Mark Rowland
“One thing that we have seen all over the world is that kindness is prevailing in uncertain times. We have learned that amid the fear, there is also community, support, and hope. The added benefit of helping others is that it is good for our own mental health and wellbeing. It can help reduce stress and improve emotional wellbeing”, he adds.
You may recognize the expression ´it is better to give than receive´, but did you know this is backed up by research?
People who are kind and compassionate see clear benefits to their wellbeing and happiness. They may even live longer. Kindness can also help reduce stress and improve our emotional wellbeing.
We all have so much going on in our lives - including competing strains and stresses – not to mention the current coronavirus pandemic. This can see kindness pushed to one side, in favour of what is urgent or trending now.
It can be easy to signal kindness by posting online and following a trend, but harder to commit to kindness in our daily words and actions.
But if we take the time to be kind to other people, we can reap the emotional dividends. It can really make a difference and especially for people who are vulnerable or struggling.
Now is the time to re-imagine a kinder society that better protects our mental health.
Kindness could be built into business decisions, government policy and official systems in a way that supports everyone’s mental health and also reduces discrimination and inequality.-But that can start by individual commitments to showing kindness in our words and our actions.
We have written this guide to show the positive impact helping others can have on your own mental health, including some tips and suggestions to inspire you.
So, take a few minutes, have a read and think about doing something kind for a friend or a stranger today.
About Mental Health Foundation
Mental Health Foundation´s mission is to help people understand, protect, and sustain their mental health with prevention being at the core of their work. You can follow the foundation´s work hereand help in spreading the kindness with the tag #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek or tagging @MentalHealthFoundation