This week we are proud to be joining the campaign for Mental Health Awareness week. Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, this year the campaign will focus on kindness. Kindness has never been more important for our communities across the country. Many people across the UK are counting on the kindness of families, friends, colleagues and strangers to see them through this crisis.
Not only is the nation’s physical health at risk, but our nation’s mental health is also under immense pressure. Mental health problems can affect anyone, at any time. Many of us will have experienced a mental health problem at some point in our lives, and many of us will be feeling worried, anxious or isolated.
Almost 60% of Community members we surveyed told us that the pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health. Across the country, data shows that over 4 in 5 adults are worried about the effect that the coronavirus is having on their life, with more than half saying it affected their well-being, and nearly half reporting high levels of anxiety.
That’s why we all have an obligation during this crisis to help those in need and those who are vulnerable in our communities. The long-term impact the pandemic will have on our nation’s mental health must be taken seriously, and when we think about this as a crisis, we must keep thinking about mental and physical health together.
The mental health of our members, their families and colleagues has always been a priority for Community. Through our campaign on mental health in the workplace, we trained hundreds of union representatives to better understand mental health issues, worked with employers to create good mental health policies, and encouraged all our members to talk about the importance of mental health and help break down barriers.
One of our first priorities during the outbreak was to ensure our members and union reps felt supported with their mental health. Our ‘looking after your mental health during Covid-19’ guide provides the tools and guidance to help manage mental health and wellbeing.
This week, we’re asking our members to get involved in Mental Health Awareness week and to consider sharing acts of kindness. Whether it is reaching out to call a friend or family member who is experiencing loneliness or self-isolation, or offering support to vulnerable neighbours, please join us and make kindness matter.
By showing kindness, talking about our wellbeing and mental health, and supporting our colleagues, families and friends, we can help tip the balance in favour of good mental health across the UK. By supporting one another, we can also ensure kindness continues to prevail not only during these uncertain times, but in the future as we emerge from this crisis.
Roy Rickhuss CBE is General Secretary of Community.
If you are struggling with your mental health or are worried about someone you know, help is available here.
Know also, that Community is always on your side and here to support you. If you are not a member, please consider joining us today.