Awareness weeks may seem less relevant at the moment, while we battle with the challenges of Covid-19. However, Mental Health Awareness Week, running from 18th – 24th May 2020, may just be the exception! Everyone is facing increased pressures and stresses, along with different degrees of uncertainty and threat. The psychological and social impacts are not only huge now, but will be with us for a long time to come. There has never been a better time to spread the word about the practical and relevant resources and materials that are out there to help us with our own mental health and that of our families and colleagues.
This particular ‘awareness’ week was started back in 2001 and is one of many pro-active initiatives organised by the Mental Health Foundation. The MHF is a well-respected and leading UK charity with a remit to help people stay well and try and prevent mental health problems before they happen. I am particularly pleased to see their theme for 2020 is KINDNESS – I truly believe that more kindness in the world, in our communities and in our workplaces can change and enrich people’s lives. This year the MHF is also highlighting the growing body of research that recognises the link between kindness and mental health. At a time when people are coping with the most extreme forms of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) there is real value in taking time to acknowledge and share acts of kindness, particularly in and around work. Using Mental Health Awareness Week to encourage collective action to benefit our mental health and that of the people we know, will hopefully be a positive catalyst for more kindness, respect and patience.
Whether you are a business owner, manager, employee in work, at home, on furlough, or somewhere in between, I hope the following list of resources and links will help your workplaces, your families and yourself:
From Mental Health Foundation:
From Mental Health at Work:
And do check out the excellent range of FREE workplace resources from Mental Health at Work. For example, the suite of materials from University of Sheffield on returning to work after a mental health absence and the Mental Health at Work special Our Frontline support resources and helplines specifically set up for Frontline workers including those in health, emergency services and social care.
And finally, in February (which seems like a long time ago!), I wrote about Workplace Kindness, highlighting interesting research about the importance of kindness in work and practical ways businesses can incorporate more kindness into their workplaces.