Mental Health Awareness Week 2020

A Little Act of Kindness can go a long way 

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week from 18th – 24th May and the theme this year is kindness.
This year we want to help promote the idea that little acts of kindness can create an impact and show our learners what a real difference this can make to people’s lives and our community.

We are asking people to make ‘A Little Act of Kindness Pledge’, a promise you make  during Mental Health Awareness week to do something to try and be kinder. This small change could be something like only making positive comments on social media, rather than texting a friend – ring them, taking the time to talk or letting your partner/sibling pick what’s on TV or making the dinner.   Any small action that would make for a kinder day and help support all our mental health and wellbeing.

We also want to create a bank of stories of some of the kind actions people have experienced, how this has made them feel and what a difference this has made. Not only can these be personal stories, but also anything you may have seen recently that has made a real impact – things like communities working together to do the shopping for vulnerable people or sending flowers to someone who is self-isolating to show they are not alone.

Take at look at some of the examples we’ve already received and if you feel inspired, simply film your pledge on your phone, share with us on social media or use the form below to tell us your story so we can add your pledge to our webpage.

The Mental Health Foundation  website states:

Kindness is defined by doing something towards yourself and others, motivated by genuine desire to make a positive difference.  We know from the research that kindness and mental health are connected. The research shows that kindness is an antidote to isolation and creates a sense of belonging. It helps reduce stress, brings a fresh perspective and deepens friendships. Kindness to ourselves can prevent shame from corroding our sense of identity and help boost our self-esteem.  Kindness can even improve feelings of confidence and optimism.

But kindness is an intrinsically risky endeavour. 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 giver and receiver.”

We think this is an amazing theme, and gives us some real opportunities to demonstrate to our learners, the public and the wider Inclusion Hampshire family how important kindness, care and support of one another is to our mental health and well-being. We can’t wait to hear your pledge!

Send us your pledge story using the form below:

My son’s nursery has been amazing even though he hasn’t been going in. They have posted a lovely letter and packet of seeds for all the children to receive and plant, they have uploaded staff singing nursery rhymes onto their online portal and they have sent a scavenger hunt and colouring sheets. By staying in touch it makes me feel like they really care and it makes me feel relieved he will be looked after, loved and cared for when  he does go back, even though that will be a scary and anxious time. 

Marie, Inclusion Hampshire

A relative of mine whose household is shielding is an avid reader and usually a regular visitor to the Library. He mentioned he had run out of books. Knowing how much he loved to read I ordered one online to be delivered the next day as a surprise. 

Emma, Inclusion Hampshire

I have given flour to friends so they can do an online baking Zoom meet up. I have checked in on my elderly neighbour for chats and to get food for her. I have phoned and texted my family, who do not live close, to check in on them regularly. I have kept a check on the mental well being of my children, baked more than ever before with my daughter, and played cricket alot in the garden!

Anna, Inclusion Hampshire

My act of kindness was to send some flowers to my friend who is a nurse and was very poorly with Covid19.  It really cheered her up and they brightened her bedroom for 7-10 days – she was so grateful ️, I’m so glad I sent them.

Paula, Inclusion Hampshire

One of our learners has been missing her nan during this lockdown as under normal circumstances her nan would spend every Saturday with us at our house. So on 25th April she wrote her nan a letter telling her that she was missing her and hoped it wouldn’t be too long before life would return to normal. Her Dad drove her to her  nan’s house and as she walked down the path her nan came to the door as she had seen our car pull up. This surprised our learner  a bit as she knew they shouldn’t have physical contact. She laid the letter and some flowers that she had picked from our garden on the porch step. They had a brief chat and then she  got back in our car and came home. This quick visit gave both of them a boost and she said she could see by her nan’s reaction and expression how pleased her nan was to have seen her. She  took to Facebook and Twitter to voice and share her happiness,  she said her nan’s reaction had melted her heart and made her day.

I have joined a group on facebook – the gift fairy and everyone on it makes a wish list on amazon and posts them on the gift fairy sight then people look at the lists and randomly buy an item or two off of other people’s lists to bring a smile to other peoples faces. I have always been brought up that you don’t give to receive then when I gift someone I feel that I have made someone happy especially at this time when everyone is on lockdown. There are a lot of people on there who are single parents with children having birthdays and it’s a great way to buy something for the children who are having a different kind of birthday this year with the lockdown. If we can all make each others lives more bearable at the moment it can go a long way.

Anonymous

I have been  shopping for my mum and I put some chocolate in her shopping that she hadn’t ordered to cheer her up.

My son and daughter are also keeping me in touch with my grandkids by sending me video’s photos and sharing things they have been doing with me.

I sent a ‘hug for your pocket’ ( a badge with no pin ) which you keep in your pocket to my daughter, my mum and my granddaughters.

My son surprised us all with a delivery of delicious homemade garlic bread, social distancing kept of course, which was hard as I just wanted to hug him as I hadn’t seen him for 6 weeks.

Anonymous

My Act of Kindness Story comes from when i was travelling when i was younger. I was travelling across the border between two countries that were not particularly friendly.  A lady that came off the bus at the same time as me was sick, so I gave her a bottle of water.  I didn’t say anything because we spoke different languages and couldn’t really communicate, so I just gave her the water and moved on.  

When we got back on the bus to cross the border, the military police weren’t willing to let me cross. They tried to take my passport and it would have been quite a dangerous situation if I had come off the bus.  The lady that I had given the water to stood up, spoke to them, got quite angry with them and was quite brave on my behalf.  They gave me my passport back and let me travel and that kind of instant karma of an act of kindness being reciprocated has really stayed with me ever since.  I don’t think we should do acts of kindness to expect something back, but it’s nice to see how that can spread out for people.

Claire, Inclusion Hampshire

I have pledged  to ring my nan and ask her for her food shopping list. I’ll add the items to our click & collect service at Morrisons and go with my Dad to take the shopping round to  nan’s house and leave on her doorstep.

Beth

I will support my friends during lockdown, asking them how they are and if they need anything.

Luke, 17

I pledge to play more board games as a family.

Polly

I have a lovely neighbour, who I have lived nextdoor to for many years. She mentioned that she wanted to do more gardening. I know she doesn’t have transport and is a vulnerable group when it comes to Covid. I surprised her with a bag of compost as she had none, so she could enjoy her potting in the sunshine.

Amy

My pledge is to contact my son every weekend on FaceTime and share a virtual drink with him out of the wine we both ordered at the same time. He lives on his own, hasn’t seen his girlfriend since March, and this is a bit of ‘normal’ we can share in.

Andy

Smiles are infectious in the bestest of ways! So I make a point to smile at people when I pass them by! I might look like a numpty but I don’t care. For some it’s the only smile they’ll receive in the day.

Priya

Daily acts of kindness are everywhere in this time of lockdown: the food gifts left for people self-isolating; the daily contacts to ‘check’ people are ok (even though it’s really hard to tell); the shopping trips; thoughtful cards and messages; above all, it is the unspoken message beneath all of this that says ‘I am here for you; you are not alone; you are not forgotten’.

Sue

Since this began, I’ve been helping vulnerable members of my family with their shopping, and reaching out to those in my circles that needed extra help. I try to do small things to brighten people’s day, like sending them drawings and cards from my kids. I arranged for a birthday cake to be delivered to a friend, and I made a home version of one of my brother’s favourite music videos to say happy birthday; he rang me afterwards all choked up.

Anonymous

I pledge to play boards games with my daughter ( even though I am not a fan) because she loves playing them and it makes her happy!

Row

I baked a cake for my colleagues who work in the NHS, to thank them for the work they have continued to do supporting people during the pandemic.  I made it using flour that my neighbour donated for me, which made it feel like a team effort! 

Joan

My neighbour delivered sunflower seeds to all the houses on my street, so we can all grow them together.  I pledge to ring my sister-in-Law this week, to check in on her and tell her how much we all miss her, the boys and my mother-in-Law! 

Mike

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