We’re delighted with the theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24 May). It’s Kindness.

One thing we’re seeing all over the world is that kindness is helping us all through these strange times. We have learnt that amid the fear, there is also community, support and hope. The added benefit of helping others is that it is good for our own mental health. It reduces stress and improves emotional wellbeing.

Kindness is being captured every day right here in our county. Through the expertise of our frontline workers, the volunteers at our community hubs, the rainbows in so many windows and free online activities to keep households entertained. There’s also the increase in video calls to check-in with family and friends, and all the small but helpful pockets of kindness going on in our communities.

We’re pledging to carry out all sorts of acts of kindness this week, from calling a friend we haven’t spoken to in a while, to donating items to the local foodbank, and from praising a colleague for great work they’ve done to simply making a cup of tea for someone at home.

We’ll be sharing plenty of ideas in our Instagram Stories throughout the week, so make sure you’re following us @your_east_sussex to join in!

Remember, be kind to yourself too

There’s a lot of information out there about how to look after your mental health, in general and for during the coronavirus outbreak. It can feel a bit overwhelming to sort through it all and understand what’s useful and trustworthy. Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust have kept it simple and made list of 10 things to keep in mind…

10 tips

And if you’re coping ok in general, but getting bogged down with all the bad news, One You East Sussex have put together a few tips for staying positive when it feels like the negative is outweighing everything else. We should probably all be giving these a try:

Switch off the news!

We would really suggest turning off your TV if it’s just stressing you out. Remember we didn’t used to have 24-hour news and so we’ll be fine to take a bit of time away from it.

Switch up your social media habits

Everyone has one topic at the front of their mind and so taking a step away from social media might be a good idea. Either delete the apps from your phone or set yourself a daily time limit to spend on them. However, if you find social media a good distraction, it might be an idea to go through your follow list and just check you’re only following people who make you feel happy.

Seek out the positives!

One of our clients recommended The Good News Network which only posts positive articles. The bad news is often given more attention but that doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of good things happening. Let us know your favourite story!

Get involved with the good

Lots of initiatives have popped up recently to spread positivity. These include displaying rainbows in your window or celebrating our community by joining in with the NHS clap on Thursday evenings.

Focus on the little things!

If we feel overwhelmed, it can be helpful to actively look out for the things that make us happy that we might have taken for granted under normal circumstances. For example, admiring spring flowers in your garden or speaking to a friend on the phone.

For further support, a great place to go to is the NHS’s Every Mind Matters website. It’s full of mental health help and advice. The Mental Health Foundation is also a great resource, and they have tons of ideas to make the most of the kindness of Mental Health Awareness Week.

Take care, everyone. And be kind.