Mental Health Awareness Week – being kind to ourselves and to each other
Written by Antonia Williams, Community Development Project Manager
This year, Mental Health Awareness Week seems more important than ever. With the usual stressors of work now accompanied by the fear, uncertainty and sadness that come with the current crisis, focusing on mental health and promoting wellbeing is crucial. With everyone facing a number of different challenges to their mental health including elevated rates of stress, anxiety, loneliness and depression, it is important to take time to reflect on how we can look after our own mental health, and the mental health of those around us.
Fittingly, the theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘kindness’, chosen for its capacity to connect people, strengthen relationships, develop community and deepen a sense of togetherness. At a time when so much is seemingly out of our control, the ability to be kind to ourselves and to others is a powerful sentiment.
At ELBA we have seen first hand the kindness that the Covid-19 crisis has inspired. The outpouring of support from our member companies has been truly amazing, with both businesses and individuals going above and beyond to support us and the work that we do. The efforts volunteers have gone to in order to share their time and skills with the communities we support has been testament to the impact that kindness can have during this time. And the wonderful upside of this is the known impact of volunteering on mental health; a study released in 2019 by the NCVO showed that 77% of volunteers reported improved mental health as a result of volunteering.
At ELBA, we support the Green Ribbon Campaign, which aims to end the stigma associated with mental health, and show support for those that might be struggling. In line with this, we are marking Mental Health Awareness Week with a series of activities designed to improve wellbeing and bring staff together. From creative sessions to instil a sense of mindfulness, to yoga and virtual group walks, we are encouraging staff to come together and remember the importance of looking after themselves and each other. Importantly, we will also be creating space for staff to talk about how the current crisis is affecting them, to share challenges and support each other.
Bringing business and the community together is what we are passionate about at ELBA, and now more than ever we can see the positive impact this has. We are grateful to you all for your support, and look forward to continuing to be kind to each other during these challenging times and beyond.