Mental Health Awareness Week has been gaining momentum over the last few years. This annual event has offered a wealth of helpful advice and practical support to millions of people keen to improve their own mental wellbeing and that of friends, colleagues and loved ones.
The Mental Health Foundation started the event 21 years ago. Each year the Foundation continues to set the theme, organise and host the Week. The event has grown to become one of the biggest awareness weeks across the UK and globally.
With this year’s event taking place a little earlier this month, between the 10th and 16th of May. Our team, at Ashridge Home Care, has been busy brainstorming additional practical ways that we can build on the mission of the week all year round.
It’s more important than ever that we look after each other and begin to break down the stigma surrounding mental health so, here are a few of our favourite ways to improve mental wellbeing and connect with others who may be struggling.
The last 18 months have been difficult for all of us, but consider those elderly and vulnerable friends and family members who have felt completely shut off from the outside world as they shielded from the threat of Covid-19.
With many events that our older population relied on as a social outlet cancelled, it’s vital that we are proactive and reach out to provide them with important human interaction. This isn’t just about socialising; loneliness has been proven to be one of the UK’s largest killers when it comes to the older population.
Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone’s hand is the beginning of a journey. At other times, it is allowing another to take yours.
A simple phone call or visit can mean the world to someone who feels cut off from the rest of society. Why not schedule some time to check in with an elderly neighbour, a relative or loved one this week? Whether it’s inviting them for a walk, making a video call, confirming a visit or simply dropping by with some flowers, a magazine or a baked treat, a small, thoughtful gesture really can make the world of difference.
Do something together
Although elderly relatives might not be able to head out to lunch or on a day trip, it’s important to provide them with some form of mental stimulation as this not only improves cognitive function but also helps fight feelings for depression.
The theme for the 2021 Mental Health Awareness Week was nature. Take inspiration from this by planting a few wildflower seeds in a small pot so they can see them grow over the weeks or paint bird bath for the garden.
Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.
All of these small tasks not only keep brains active, but they give the other person something that they can look forward to in the coming weeks to lift their mood.
Although mountain climbing might be off the menu, getting outdoors to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature has been proven to have a positive impact on mental health.
Being outside in nature makes you feel more alive and provides a greater sense of energy and vitality, which can help make you more resilient to mental illness.
Just spending as little as half an hour in the garden or going for a short stroll in a local park can lift the mood and reduce stress. Get outdoors with an elderly friend or family member as much as possible to improve both their and your own mental health.
Do you live in Buckinghamshire or Oxfordshire?
A 24/7 mental health helpline has been launched to make it quicker and easier for people in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire to get the right advice they need for their mental health. Adults: 01865 904 997 Children and young people: 01865 904 998
The round-the-clock helpline will make it quicker and easier for people in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire to get the right advice they need for their mental health and emotional wellbeing.
Ashridge Home Care is one of the few companies that make it possible for vulnerable people to receive the highest quality care in the comfort of their own home. We give our clients the physical and psychological support they need to continue a full and active life in the community and work closely with GPs, service users and carers, and other key partners to achieve this.