Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from 9th-15th May 2022 in the UK. This year’s theme is loneliness. It is perhaps no surprise that feelings of loneliness grew drastically during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a study in February 2021 reporting that 7.2% of adults living in Great Britian (3.7 million people) are lonely.
Loneliness is not widely spoken about, often people feel shy or embarrassed to express that they feel totally alone. Or, they may have no one to turn to. Loneliness can impact anyone and can eventually be a result of, or result in, mental health issues such as depression or anxiety.
These staggering statistics can be really difficult to digest especially if you really want to help but don’t know how.
We’ve pulled together 7 things you can do to spread a little love.
1.Smile at people! A smile goes a long way, whether it’s a stranger in a café or someone working at the supermarket. Taking the time to smile and engage in a polite conversation could really brighten up someone’s day.
2. Volunteer with a charity or local group. It can be really frustrating if you don’t know how to practically help. If you’ve got free time then why not commit an hour a week to a charity such as Samaritans or a local club?
3. Paying forward a coffee is a certain way to spread some joy! Next time you treat yourself to a coffee and a cake, pay for the next person in the queue. Or, many local coffee shops will allow you to pay for a coffee or meal for a homeless person – why not enquire next time you’re in?
4. Donate to charity. If you don’t have time to volunteer and you can afford to, then you could set up a small recurring donation to a charity doing meaningful work.
5. Compliment someone! If you like someone’s outfit, tell them. If someone looks fab in a picture, comment and let them know.
6. Reach out. If a friend or family member is a little quiet or having a tougher time then reach out and let them know you’re there. A message of love or support can mean so much. This might open an entire conversation and could really help.
7. Listen. Don’t be afraid to ask how people are feeling, and mean it! Sometimes we’re so busy we don’t really listen to people when they talk so try taking the time to be a good listener. You might find it is one of the most supportive things you can do.
For more about mental health click here.