Dedicated to raising awareness of important mental health issues, from the 9th to the 15th of May each year the Mental Health Foundation hold their Mental Health Awareness week, shining the spotlight on topics that affect our mental health and wellbeing.
This year’s theme is one very close to our hearts, as it’s something that can affect so many of us: loneliness. The feeling we get when the social experiences we have aren’t meeting our social needs, loneliness can affect us at any time, even when we might be surrounded by people. Although feelings of loneliness can be normal and sometimes they pass quickly, when it’s recurring and chronic they can also play a huge part in affecting our physical and mental wellbeing. While alone time can be important to our self-care, it’s also vital that we make time to connect with others so that we don’t feel isolated or unable to share our feelings.
How can we tackle loneliness?
Reaching out and checking in with the people in your life might sometimes feel daunting but connecting with others and sharing how we feel can ease our feelings of loneliness, and help us start to feel better about things. For many people, including us here at St. Eval, getting out into nature is a mindful practice that helps us to clear our minds and ground ourselves in our connections with nature; why not invite a friend or family member on your next nature walk? Or, if opening up to your loved ones isn’t something you’re ready for, then try starting with someone else that you trust, like a doctor or health professional.
Sharing your experiences with loneliness can help to ease your own feelings, and show others that it’s okay to reach out. As part of this week’s campaign, the Mental Health Foundation are asking us all to take to social media and share our experiences under the hashtag #IveBeenThere to normalise talking about our mental health and show people that they’re not alone. Whether you feel comfortable sharing on social media, or you’d just like to read about what other people have posted we recommend taking a moment to look through the stories under the hashtag.
Know that it is always okay to reach out and talk about your mental health. If you’re feeling lonely it can sometimes feel like an insurmountable task to get assistance, but there are always people and resources out there ready to help. While the Mental Health foundation are a charity focused on research and policy development, and aren’t able to advise people directly, they have an amazing page of resources on their website, where you can find links to a host of amazing charities and services to get help and advice, which you can access here.