Kindness is the theme for staff at the Royal United Hospital in Bath, with a series of daily topics and events being arranged during national Mental Health Awareness Week 2020.
The Mental Health Foundation has chosen kindness as its topic of the week because its own research shows that protecting our mental health is going to be central to coping with and recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.
The RUH has experienced numerous acts of kindness, shown by NHS staff themselves and from the public to the NHS, over the past months.
They include neighbourhoods decorated with rainbow paintings and thank you posters, frontline hospital staff clapping a recovering COVID-19 patient who’s leaving intensive care, and generous public donations, among many other gifts, of flowers, food and free bicycles.
Sarah Shatwell, RUH Head of Counselling, said: “One in four people will experience a mental health difficulty in their lifetime.
“Being kind to ourselves is a really good starting point for looking after our emotional wellbeing and mental health, especially when so many hospital staff work in roles looking after and caring for other people.
“So this week we are focusing on kindness, to ourselves and to others, examining how it can help our mental health. We’re explaining various ways of how to take a moment to be kind to ourselves.
“We’re looking at barriers that stop people accessing mental health and wellbeing support, we’re discussing how to talk to someone struggling with their mental health, and we’re sharing random acts of kindness on our social media platforms.”
The RUH Trust is also broadcasting daily podcasts from Bath-based clinical psychologist and author Linda Blair on why kindness is so important to personal health and society as a whole.
Linda said: “We’ve all learned during this crisis how fantastic it feels to thank people and be kind to people when they are doing so much for us.
“But in the middle of all this thanking and kindness to others we often forget to be kind to ourselves – and that’s really important.
“Psychological research shows that when you take a moment to show some self-kindness and self-respect you get a burst of energy, your creative powers are boosted.
“We also know from research that your mood is likely to remain more positive and steadier for longer when you take a moment to thank yourself and to be kind to yourself.”
You can find out more about Mental Health Awareness Week and watch Linda’s podcasts here.