Mental Health Awareness Week – 10th-16th May 2021

This year Mental Health Awareness week is from the 10th -16th May 2021 and with the conditions we have all had to endure with lockdown and all the problems that have been created this year is especially important to support it.

This year’s Theme is Nature and Mental Health UK are asking people to reconnect to nature and to follow their 5 Steps to Wellbeing. There is a lot of information on their website which will help you join in their week’s activities. You can click on the link here to take you directly to their website

The Mental Health Foundation has developed a list of ways that we can all help and we have put this below and hope that this will help some of you. Their website also has a lot of information and you can click the link here to take you directly to their website

Eight tips for talking about mental health

1. Set time aside with no distractions

It is important to provide an open and non-judgemental space with no distractions.

2. Let them share as much or as little as they want to

Let them lead the discussion at their own pace. Don’t put pressure on them to tell you anything they aren’t ready to talk about. Talking can take a lot of trust and courage. You might be the first person they have been able to talk to about this.

3. Don’t try to diagnose or second guess their feelings

You probably aren’t a medical expert and, while you may be happy to talk and offer support, you aren’t a trained counsellor. Try not to make assumptions about what is wrong or jump in too quickly with your own diagnosis or solutions.

4. Keep questions open ended

Say “Why don’t you tell me how you are feeling?” rather than “I can see you are feeling very low”. Try to keep your language neutral. Give the person time to answer and try not to grill them with too many questions.

5. Talk about wellbeing

Talk about ways of de-stressing or practicing self-care and ask if they find anything helpful. Exercising, having a healthy diet and getting a good nights sleep can help protect mental health and sustain wellbeing. 

6. Listen carefully to what they tell you

Repeat what they have said back to them to ensure you have understood it. You don’t have to agree with what they are saying, but by showing you understand how they feel, you are letting them know you respect their feelings.

7. Offer them help in seeking professional support and provide information on ways to do this

You might want to offer to go the GP with them, or help them talk to a friend or family member. Try not to take control and allow them to make decisions.

8. Know your limits

Ask for help or signpost if the problem is serious. If you believe they are in immediate danger or they have injuries that need medical attention, you need to take action to make sure they are safe. More details on dealing in a crisis can be found below.

We hope that you will find this information interesting and hope that this will help raise awareness not just for this week but for every week.