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Community / Mental health awareness week an ‘opportunity to reflect on kindness’

THIS YEAR’s mental health awareness week launched today (Monday), with people encouraged to celebrate kindness.

The theme of the national initiative, which is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation and is now in its 20th year, is that kindness matters – especially during troubled times like the current pandemic.

Highlands and Islands MSP David Stewart said that the uncertainty of the coronavirus outbreak and impact of lockdown has been “extremely stressful” for people in the region.

“People who may have previously felt isolated in remote and rural communities may be feeling this even more acutely at this time, so it’s important they know that support is available to them,” he said.

“We know that across the region many people have also sadly faced the pain of losing loved ones to the virus or have fallen ill themselves, while others have seen their livelihoods put at risk or incomes reduced. All of this has put additional strain on people’s mental wellbeing.

“This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is putting the focus on kindness as a means of helping people through the pandemic and building a better society as we emerge from it.

“We see many acts of kindness in the Highlands and Islands all the time, but this week is an opportunity for people to reflect on their interactions with others and how they can try and be a little kinder during this unprecedented time.”

Mental Health Foundation chief executive Mark Rowland said: “This year may be the most important week we have ever hosted, as we deal with coping and recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We must do all we can to reduce the psychological and social impacts of the pandemic which could outlast the physical symptoms of the virus.”

There are ways people are encouraged to get involved online, including sharing stories and pictures of acts of kindness using the hashtags #KindnessMatters and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.

Folk are also invited to use Mental Health Foundation resources in family, school, workplace and community settings.

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