It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, and the theme this year is kindness. To mark this, some of the team at Health in Mind have shared their thoughts and kind deeds.

Hayley’s Chandler, Peer Collaborative Coordinator

A picture of a cat

I decided to think about the kindness we can show animals by being mindful of them. I agreed to foster a cat as a favour to a friend a while before lockdown started, not knowing how much time we would be spending together and what a lifeline she would be. She was parachuted in (not literally, but almost – she was flown in from Dubai) the day lockdown started. She squeaks rather than meows when she wants food, to play or cuddles. It’s been too sunny in the morning for me to work at my “desk” (dining table actually) but it’s perfect for Bella’s sunbathing, snoozing and lounging on the cushions that I put out for her so that she can be comfortable.

Wendy Bates, Chief Executive

A picture of a mother and daughter posing with a cardboard cutout of Harry Styles

My daughter is the biggest Harry Styles fan in the world. I know it’s a hotly contested title, but I think she has pipped others to it; the life sized Harry Styles cut out in our living room would testify to that!

I am (not so secretly) a bit of a fan too. One of the things I admire most about Harry is his motto ‘Treat People With Kindness’. He has a song by the same name, and t-shirts, hoodies and posters too! I think the message does really get across to his fans who would, of course, do anything for Harry!

Apparently it’s not only time spent with Harry Styles that brings you happiness, though! Oxford University conducted a large scale study about kindness in 2016. Although the impact was modest, the findings showed that kindness really does bring you happiness.

I don’t think we need an academic study to tell us that, though. That’s the beauty of kindness, it has such a positive impact on both the recipient and giver.

Being kind is not always easy. Being kind is a skill that often demands great courage and strength. Being kind is a choice, and not always the easy one. It’s easy to become frustrated when a friend or family member is always late or lets you down. It takes courage and strength to be kind, to stop and think about why, to put yourself in their shoes and offer some words of kindness.

Kindness is a choice.

I am privileged to work with colleagues who show kindness every day; to me, their peers, our volunteers and people we support. One of our values is compassion and it’s that compassion that guides us to acts of kindness. Kindness is everywhere in Health in Mind, from the offer of a hot cup of tea or a listening ear after a tough day, that’s what makes Health in Mind special.

Being kind to ourselves is tougher, but it is acts of self kindness that gives us fuel to be kind to others. Like everything, practice makes perfect. Aesop said, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” So, every time you practice, you will feel the benefit.

We are often encouraged to do one small act of kindness for someone each day. The challenge I would like to leave you with today, is for that person to be you!

Zoë, Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Assistant Manager

A picture of a letter offering help to neighbours

Here is a letter that  Zoë posted in all the letterboxes in her stairwell a few weeks ago. The response was amazing and several elderly neighbours accepted help, and Zoe collected prescriptions and food for them. Zoë said:

“it was amazing how much this improved my own mental health and made me feel surrounded by good people.”

Acts of kindness not only help others, they help our own wellbeing too. It is more important than ever to be kind during these times of social distancing, while we all may be feeling more isolated. Mental health is more important than ever and KINDNESS makes everyone involved feel better ?