This year for Mental Health Awareness week (18th-24th May), the theme is Kindness Matters.
Kindness always matters, but in these trying times feels more important than ever.
How does kindness impact our mental health? When we give kindness to others it can increase our self esteem, self worth and confidence. When we receive kindness it makes us feel loved, special and appreciated. When we are kind to ourselves we can begin to heal, we can be patient with ourselves. All acts of kindness affect our mental health in a positive way.
Some of our young people at Wish shared their recent experience of kindness:
Emma –Lockdowns been hard for everyone in their own way, it’s tough on relationships – both with ourselves and others. It’s in this time that kindness is especially important, the kindness we show towards those around us but also ourselves.
I had a rough week last week, I was physically ill and couldn’t go out for walks so my mental health declined. After I posted something on insta where I looked down a friend I hadn’t spoken to in a while messaged me, she made sure I was okay and stayed on the phone until I felt like I was in a better place. Another friend brought round some brownies and a facemask – just seeing her wave from her car was enough to bring a smile to my face.
I’ve started to give myself 20 mins a day minimum to do something I like, it could be going for a walk or painting or even phoning a friend – yesterday I went to watch the sunset. But by taking this time I’ve really started to teach myself that I can look after myself and I can do this, I don’t always need someone else to hold me afloat when everything feels like it’s going wrong.
My friends are a security net to catch me when everything gets a lot, not a crutch for every bump in the road – I’m doing better now, I’m just starting to learn that I need to be kind to myself the way I am to others.
It’s in these times that kindness isn’t about going to see someone or taking them out, it’s things like sending that friend who always seems to be smiling or someone who seems a little off a text to see how they’re doing, maybe they need someone but they don’t know how to ask, but that little bit of kindness and support will help make their day better.
Iesha – A while ago around christmas I helped an older woman with her shopping. This week I was doing the errands for my mum, I went into the pharmacy and didn’t have enough change to buy masks as I needed to go to the shop so I had to leave them.
When I came back into the pharmacy the woman from Christmas time had overhead this in the queue, bought the masks for me and told the pharmacist to put them in my bag for me. I didn’t think she’d even recognise me again!
Also my best friend has always been there for me and supported me when my mental health was bad. When I was struggling with eating she’d encourage me to keep eating and she’d look after me. Recently she’s been feeling really down especially about her body, so I’ve been sending her kind messages and uplifting quotes daily and creating art for her.
Zara – Yesterday I had to go to A&E and I was feeling really guilty about wasting NHS time during the pandemic. I had a really reassuring nurse and he just chatted to me. It made me feel better.
Also kindness is sometimes giving advice. This week my friend was feeling really guilty about being mad at her Dad. I helped her feel valid about her feelings by telling her it’s totally ok and she’s allowed to be mad and to BE MAD if that’s what she needs to feel!
Kindness always matters.