Gerald Jones, Labour MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, has backed the theme of kindness for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, the UK’s national week to raise awareness of mental health, running between 18-24 May.
The week, hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, is now in its 20th year, with the theme for this year’s week being kindness. Across Wales and the UK, people are celebrating kindness in a range of digital and creative ways, within social distancing restrictions.
This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week has been described by the Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation as the most important one they have ever hosted, with mental health helplines, charities and other services facing greatly increased demand due to the impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and Gerald is encouraging people to mark the week by celebrating the theme of kindness and getting involved by offering support to those who may need it, or simply being kind to themselves.
Commenting at the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, Gerald said:
“As we mark Mental Health Awareness Week 2020, the message of kindness – being kind to others but also to yourself – may never have been more important than it is now, during these hugely difficult and uncertain times that we are all facing.
“Although we must continue to distance ourselves physically, we can still reach out to others to offer our support, and during the ongoing pandemic I have been amazed by the acts of kindness from people both in our communities and across Wales and the UK, and the creativity people have shown to share messages of kindness and hope with those who may need it, and be able to reach some of the most vulnerable among us.
“Whether it’s helping out at local foodbanks, checking in on vulnerable neighbours or sending messages of thanks and appreciation to our key workers on the frontline, people across our area have demonstrated amazing kindness and community spirit in a situation which has been very difficult for the mental health of many of us.
“Organisations in our area such as the charity Mind are also doing amazing work to support those in our area who may currently be struggling with their mental health, with Mind providing support to local people through its Cwm Taf Morgannwg and Caerphilly branches.
“Their message for this Mental Health Awareness Week of encouraging people to ‘speak your mind’ has never been so important, and everyone involved has done excellent work to support those in need, and spread the message across our communities that nobody has to go through this pandemic alone.”
Mark Rowland, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, added:
“At a time when we must socially isolate, stories of kindness have helped spread a shared sense of connection and joy. The research backs this up – kindness is deeply connected to mental health.
“The message this Mental Health Awareness Week is that kindness matters. It matters to our mental health and it will matter hugely in the society we build from here – one that better protects our mental health.”