Mental Health Awareness Week has circled around quickly this year, commencing on the 18th May until the 24th. This year the focus and theme is kindness; and this could not be more relevant to our current situation. COVID-19 has brought a vast and sudden change to our ‘normal’ routine, some of us are struggling to adjust to a new sense of normality as lockdown prevails.
Mental Health Awareness Week is run by the Mental Health Foundation with the mission to support good mental health for all. They have been working as the UK’s leading charity since 1949, raising awareness and helping people to understand, protect and sustain their mental health.
Mind tell us that approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience mental health problem each year. In England, 1 in 6 people experience a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) and we want to play our part in helping to support those individuals and increase the amount of support to all.
Since the changes to work pressures, home lives and sociability, Gold Care Homes has been searching for ways to support our employees throughout this difficult time and in the future. The societal changes we are facing having implications on both our personal and professional lives which can in turn cause poor mental health. Support services such as www.frontline19.com are available to those working on the front line; offering free and confidential support for those in need. Similarly, the Mental Health Foundation have created a list of ways to access support and pre-existing services for all to use which can be found here (https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/your-mental-health/getting-help).
So how can we support our mental wellbeing during this unprecedented time and in the future?
- Take a break from the news
- Try something new – a new skill, a dish you have wanted to try, a walk in a new area
- Find some time purely for you with no distractions
- Go outside and enjoy the sun
- Connect with friends and family
- Talk to somebody – professional services are available like the Samaritans (24/7 help)
- Stick to facts about COVID-19 by using credible sources
- Look after your sleeping pattern.
In the care home industry, it has been numerous weeks since family members and friends were allowed into the homes to see loved ones. Of course, this decision has not been taken lightly but is important to maintain the health and wellbeing of our residents. Our teams have been making the extra effort to engage with residents and hold additional activities, on top of what is usually done! This level of engagement and stimulation helps to keep us occupied and reminds us that we are not alone on this journey.
Mental health is vital and the awareness of mental health and support systems available is essential to our society. We wish you all well and look forward to seeing you on the other side of this pandemic.