Every May, the Mental Health Foundation gets the whole nation talking about achieving good mental health during Mental Health Awareness Week, with a view to normalise those conversations and get people to realise that, well, we all have to look after our mental health!
This year, the theme is loneliness, how it affects our mental wellbeing, or how experiencing mental health challenges can make us feel lonely and isolated, and what we can do about it. Loneliness is a topic which often comes back in our group conversations, especially since the start of the pandemic which brought us all closer to feelings of isolation, so we wanted to give everyone a platform to discuss this important issue.
From 9 until 15 May, we will be organising a series of events and activities to raise awareness of the support we have available to people feeling lonely, as well as reflect on how we can reduce loneliness, and help ourselves and each other when loneliness affects us. We will also be sharing some wonderful content on our website and social media about loneliness written and drawn by members of our Arts and Creative Writing groups – so make sure to check it out!
How can you get involved
Join our events or activities on the week of 9-15 May 2022
On Tuesday 10 May, 11am-1pm we will be at the Swan Shopping Centre in Leatherhead listening to you, raising awareness of our services, distributing leaflets and activities calendars, and giving out seeds and pots for planting at home, as part of our Green Social Prescribing Project to connect people to nature.
Alongside our partners at Swan Shopping Centre, we will also be inaugurating a new “Friendship Bench” outside Boots to invite people to share a smile or a word with a stranger and make their day. We will put a gift on the bench each day that week to incite people to sit and talk to someone. The bench will stay decorated for a month to help reduce loneliness. Do come find us and sit with us if you are passing by!
Our partners at anti-stigma and discrimination campaign Time to Change Surrey will also be present to raise awareness of how to change attitudes towards mental health in Surrey and offer free mental health training.
PEER SUPPORT GROUPS
The following peer support groups will include conversations about how to reduce loneliness on the week of 9-15 May:
- Online and face-to-face Coffee Mornings
- Monday Men’s Hour in Epsom
- Tuesday Peer Support Group in West Molesey
- Tuesday Online Evening Peer Support Group
- Wednesday Online Women’s Group
- Thursday Online Stress Matters
- Friday Peer Support Group in Epsom
- Our Monday 9 May at 11am-11.40am Litsa will run a “Finding comfort in times of loneliness meditation”.
- On Friday 13 May, 2.15pm-3pm Amanda will offer a meditation on the theme of “Connecting with ourselves and others when we feel lonely”! Amanda’s session will include the practice of pausing, self-compassion, loving kindness meditations, and looking to the lovely moments in our day using all our five senses.
EXTENDED WELLBEING WALKS
- On Thursday 12 May, from 11am until 1pm, we’ll be offering an extended walk to the Community Orchard on Epsom Downs, meeting at The Beefeater at Tattenham Corner, noticing the birds and wildlife on the Downs along the way (bring binoculars if you have any). Please note our regular one-hour walk will also be operating that day from the Beefeater at 11am for those who prefer a shorter walk.
- We will also offer an extended walk around Walton on Thursday 12 May, from 1pm until 2.30pm, departing from Wilde Brunch Café by Walton Bridge car park.
No need to book for either of these walks, you can just turn up on the day.
OTHER ACTIVITIES HAPPENING THAT WEEK
To book yourself on any of these activities, you need to register as a client of MFT and then contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01372 375400 or text 07929 024 722.
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- We will be sharing a blog written by Allen, our volunteer Peer Support Facilitator in Epsom, on why Peer support is important and how it can help to tackle loneliness.
- We will be sharing beautiful, powerful and thought-provoking poems on loneliness written by our Creative Writing Group members.
- We will be sharing artwork about loneliness designed by our clients and members of our Art Groups.
- We will be sharing photos of the Friendship Bench and invite all of you to post selfies of you on the Bench on social media to help promote the initiative.
- The hashtags we will be using that week are: #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek and #IveBeenThere
On the Mental Health Foundation’s website you can find: