This week, Monday 18th May to Sunday 24th May is National Mental Health Awareness Week. The awareness week has been running since 2001 and is led by the Mental Health Foundation. This year the focus is on the power and potential of kindness and the positive impact that it can have on mental wellbeing.
Mark Rowland, Chief Executive of the Foundation believes that the week could be the most important that they have ever run. He said: “Protecting our mental health is going to be central to us coping and recovering from the Coronavirus pandemic, with the psychological and social impacts likely to outlast the physical symptoms. Kindness strengthens relationships, develops community and deepens solidarity.”
Congleton Town Council’s Health and Wellbeing Group has been focussing on Mental Health and lobbying to improve access to mental health facilities for residents in the town. The group is supporting the national campaign week and encouraging local people to share stories and pictures of kindness shown on social media, using the hashtag #KindnessMatters and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.
Kindness is defined as ‘doing some action towards yourself and others motivated by a genuine desire to make a positive difference.’
Chair of the Town Council’s Health and Wellbeing Working Group, Cllr Dawn Allen, said: “Kindness is an antidote to isolation and creates a sense of belonging. It helps to reduce stress, brings a fresh perspective and deepens friendships. Over the past few weeks we have seen countless acts of kindness shown across the Congleton community towards neighbours, friends and strangers. During National Mental Health Week we urge people to make an even greater effort to be kind both to themselves and to others.”
Councillor Allen continued: “We need to recognise that mental health and physical health are both important for a person’s wellbeing. We strongly believe that mental health support is crucial for people and want to see a professionally staffed, drop-in centre in Congleton to support people suffering with their mental health, like the Project 71 building that we visited in Chester.”
Need some support with your Mental Health?
Below are some local and national support groups that can help you with your mental health
NHS Cheshire and Wirral Mental Health Urgency Line– Staffed 24/7 – tel 0300 303 3972
The Big Life Group– Talking Therapies – based in Macclesfield – 01625 469950
Visyon– Is a mental health charity that supports local children and young people when they need it most. They are currently accepting referrals as normal and have a weekly timetable of online support as well as open access where young people aged 13+ or parents can call 01260 290000 if they need space to talk. Due to COVID-19 all services are currently online or via the telephone. www.visyon.org.uk tel 01260 290000
Ruby’s Fund- Is currently running a special Thriving Families toolkit range of services to help families to live their best life possible during COVID-19. They are also running a befriending service for parents feeling lonely and isolated and a relaxed kids programme to help kids understand their emotions. See rubysfund.co.uk. Note that taking part will require registration with Ruby’s Fund.
Mentell– Is a local self-help group that offer men aged 18+ a chance to meet and talk and share experiences good and bad in a non-judgemental and safe environment. The group meets on-line on Mondays from 7pm – 9pm. Post COVID-19 social distancing, the meetings will return to being face to face. Register an interest at www.mentell.org.uk
Nailed it – Stronger Together– Is a peer support group based in Congleton and set up by Gaz Lewis with the aim of helping the community through talking. Find out more from their Facebook page.
SWaNS– Is a community interest company that supplies programmes and training based around the development of emotional resilience and well-being that will build a positive framework for good mental and emotional health. They can be contacted at swanscic.org.
Carers Trust (Crossroads Together)– Providing support and guidance to carers www.crossroadstogether.org.uk tel: 0333 323 1990
There are also national charities such as:
Samaritans– Tel: 116 123 – 24 hour 7 day week help line
MIND- www.mind.org.uk – advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem
During Mental Health Awareness Week, Everybody Leisure will be offering free on-line live exercises. This includes Mind and Body exercise classes, Yoga, Les Mills BodyBalance, Pilates and new Guided Meditation sessions see www. everybody.org.uk for more details.