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Mental Health Awareness Week

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, Chambers Director Edith Robertson has taken a look at how we could all be doing more.

There’s a lot spoken about mental health these days, so much so its hard to pay attention anymore – from royalty down everyone is talking about it. With all the publicity I think a lot of its meaning has been lost. Its also hard to know what we as individuals can do to help. We can often feel reticent to either get involved not knowing if that would be welcome, or feel we don’t know what to do or say. Indeed sometimes we can feel paralysed worrying anything that we may do could make the situation worse.

The theme of this week’s Mental Health Awareness Week is kindness, which I think is great as it takes it all back to a basic level that every one of us can make a difference by adopting. So much of our mental health involves how we are treated by other people.

Mark Rowland, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, wrote on the event's website: "We have chosen kindness because of its singular ability to unlock our shared humanity. Kindness strengthens relationships, develops community and deepens solidarity.

By turning this around – lets think what we can all do to be kinder to others. A kind word, smile or friendly gesture can really make all the difference even (and possibly more importantly) to complete strangers.

From buying someone a coffee to offering your seat on the bus or tube (both difficult at this time) it is good to be reminded that our behaviour can make a tremendous difference to others. Perhaps we will never know just how much.  Kindness and consideration may be slightly old fashioned in some peoples thinking, but they are the glue of a healthy society.

If nothing else use this week to step back and just reflect and think – we should all have just a little bit more time at the moment to do that. We don’t know the burdens that others carry – nor do we need to know, showing kindness just involves treating everyone as an individual and in a way we would like to be treated. Modelling this behaviour especially to children may help to mould their perceptions. Mental health, I understand is a subject on most curriculums – maybe they should also include kindness too!

A little bit more kindness would improve the mental health of the nation immeasurably!

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