12 days ago by Lewis Manners

Mental Health Awareness Week: How can you make a difference?

Mental Health 2 (2)

It’s mental health awareness week!

The theme for this year is all about spreading awareness around the struggles with isolation and loneliness during and after the Covid pandemic. Exacerbated by the social restrictions and lockdowns, loneliness is now a leading cause of mental health issues in the UK, with the Mental Health Foundation reporting that it was almost 3 times that of pre-pandemic levels. This has resulted in connections with loved ones, family and friends being disrupted or even broken. That’s why it’s imperative to spread awareness to begin to reverse the impact the pandemic has had on relationships and mental health.

Following the pandemic, many companies have moved towards a hybrid approach to working, giving employees more flexibility around their work and personal life. Although this has improved the work-life balance for many of us, working from home has the possibility to intensify feelings of loneliness especially among older adults. It was reported that 2.8 million people accessed the NHS mental health services over the last 2 years, which is 5% of the UK population. To tackle this rise in demand the NHS spent £14.3 billion on mental health services in 2020/2021 (14.8% of total spending).

So, what can you do to make a difference?

The easiest way you can make a difference is by just talking, make the effort to reach out to those close to you. This could be a friend you’ve lost contact with, a colleague in the office or a neighbour you haven’t spoken to in a while. A simple question, such as ‘how are you getting on?’ or ‘what have you been up to recently?’, could really help someone who is struggling with mental health.

Another great way to contribute is by donating. There are loads of incredible mental health charities that rely on donations to host important awareness events and to keep helplines running, so even the smallest of donations could make all the difference. Signing up to local volunteer schemes could be another great way for you to get involved. This year, The Mental Health Foundation have set up the 80 Miles in May Challenge - everyone is welcome to get involved with this fundraiser, and you even get a free water bottle for signing up!

Collectively, we can come up with a sustainable approach in response to the rising levels of people with mental health issues in the UK, ensuring those that need help can get it. The government are also likely to continue increasing their funding into the NHS mental health services to offer more resources and manage the increased demand from those trying to use the service.

Mental Health Foundation