Mental Health Awareness Week – what is it and how can I get involved?
Mental Health Awareness Week is an annual event hosted by the Mental Health Foundation.
It is designed to promote awareness of mental health issues, encourage people to get the help they need, and to raise funds for mental health awareness research.
The event is held every May, with the 2019 event taking place from Monday 13th May to Sunday 19th May.
Each year, the event has a central theme, with 2019’s theme being stress.
Although stress isn’t a mental health problem itself, it is a dangerous condition that can lead to mental health problems like anxiety and depression.
In severe cases, stress can even trigger incidents of self harm or suicide.
The illnesses caused by stress can be avoided by being aware of stress symptoms and learning some stress reduction techniques.
Understanding stress can also make it easier to notice it in other people and provide them with help.
How can I get involved?
Mental Health Awareness Week is a popular event, with thousands of supporters taking part in events across the United Kingdom.
There are many ways you can get involved including:
Find an event to attend
There are hundreds of events being run by schools, businesses, community groups, and individuals during Mental Health Awareness week.
Most of these events are designed to raise money, raise awareness of stress and mental health, or to give people an opportunity to discuss mental health issues.
The simplest way to find events to attend is via the interactive map on the Mental Health Foundation’s website.
You can use the map to locate events in your city or town.
Some of the most interesting events include:
Poppy’s Picnic’s ‘Therapeutic Power of Pets’ Event
Poppy’s Picnic are holding a special lunch for residents of Dauntsey House Care Home in Devizes at their headquarters in Melksham to raise awareness of mental health issues and the importance of pets in helping people overcome stress.
The event will be attended by Therapy Dogs Nationwide as well as leading Chartered Psychologist Kyle Davies.
The Olive Tree cafe Charity Race night
We are holding a Race night to 1 raise funds for a new training kitchen and 2 raise awareness of Mental Health.
Two of our races will have horses named around the Mental health/wellness theme.
Reminiscence tea party
Come along and enjoy a chat about times past in a friendly, informal group.
This month’s topic: hobbies and pastimes.
Be a fundraiser
There are many opportunities available to be a fundraiser, including:
Attend an active challenge
Active events include wellbeing walks, fun runs, cycling, treks, and even skydiving.
You can learn more about these active challenges on the Mental Health Foundation website.
Hold your own fundraising campaign
If you have a great idea on how to raise money for mental health awareness week, you can contact the Mental Health Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Host a lecture or talk on mental health
The best way to raise mental health awareness is to talk about it.
You can hold a lecture or talk on mental health in your local area.
You can ask local mental health professionals and people who have dealt with mental health problems in the past to talk at it.
The audience can also be asked to participate with questions and comments relating to stress reduction techniques or mental health.
You could even hold a class that showcases some of the best stress reduction techniques, like mindfulness meditation or yoga.
Spread the word online
If you don’t have the time to organise or attend an event, you can still spread the word online.
Consider posting stories and information on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Some of the items you can post include:
- Facts and figures about stress and mental illness
- Your favourite ways to deal with stress
- Places to find help when feeling stressed or suffering from poor mental health
- Personal stories about the stress you have experienced in your life or how you have dealt with stress in the past
- Information about the Mental Health Awareness events
Print up a poster for your workplace or school
The Mental Health Foundation provides a range of free resources for the general public including pamphlets, social media graphics, and posters.
You can print some of these posters up and place them around your workplace or school.
This will help people suffering from stress realise that help is always available and it also helps to promote the Mental Health Foundation.
Share your story with the Mental Health Foundation
The best way to address the stigma associated with mental health is to talk about it.
That means sharing stories and helping others understand that everyone suffers from poor mental health at some point in their life.
The Mental Health Foundation encourages this practice and publishes user-submitted stories on its website and in publications.
You can submit your story by sending 600 words through to email@example.com.