Using the principle of every cloud (however dark) has a silver lining, one of the positives that has come out of the pandemic and related challenges over the past couple of years, is a heightened awareness of the importance of mental health and wellbeing. It is difficult to imagine that anyone has sailed through the last two years completely unaffected by what has been going on and with no impact upon their mental wellbeing.
Time at home during the various lockdowns may have provided opportunity for self-reflection which may in turn have developed into insularity and self-analysis of a negative kind. Alternatively, the nature of your work during this time, may have added extra burdens or responsibilities, through which you have worked, but may now be having a negative impact upon your mental wellbeing. Juggling family/home responsibilities and work are also likely to have taken its toll.
Whatever the case, this week will provide a chance to consider our own mental health and that of our family and friends, neighbours and strangers.
The theme for this year is loneliness.
Hence, checking in on those who may live alone is a small thing that we can all do to try to support each other. Whether these are family members or friends, or neighbours or members of your community that you know live alone, we can reach out to them.
A message or text, or a quick call - a simple ‘how are you doing?’ works wonders and can make you feel as if someone – anyone - is interested in you and whether you are OK.
It really does not take much time or effort to do this, it need not be intrusive and will be welcomed by those who really appreciate it.
You may end up with just a ‘fine thanks’ response and that’s sufficient. Or you may end up with a longer exchange for those who need it. It’s simply about taking an interest and offering your support to those who have limited personal support networks to call upon on a day-to-day basis.
There are many resources that we can all call upon too. Here are some examples:
https://www.samaritans.org or call 116123 for free 24/7.
And, to paraphrase the Four Tops, remember to “Reach out”!