Inspiring kindness this Mental Health Awareness Week

This Mental Health Awareness Week we reflect on some heartening advice our Mind and Body advocates blogged about over the past year.

The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24 May 2020) is kindness. Now more than ever, being kind to ourselves, patients, colleagues, friends, carers and family will be central to us coping with the coronavirus pandemic.

We look back at three blogs written over the past year by colleagues across King’s Health Partners who support our Mind & Body initiatives and hear how the Mind and Body team has been supporting each other working from home. Each shares their inspirational quotes on the importance of kindness, and the tools and resources we can use in our journey to better mental health. 

1. Being kinder to our minds and bodies

In May last year, Mind & Body Champion Jamie Williams shared some tips on how we can maintain a positive body image and help others who are struggling. Here’s a warming quote from her blog:

It's about working on what is on the inside that can have the biggest impact on how we feel about what’s on the outside. It’s about self-acceptance, self-worth and most importantly self-compassion.

2. “A Mindapple a day keeps the psychiatrist away”

In July 2019, Mind & Body Champion Nikki Helder blogged about her session on wellbeing with staff and using mindapples as a tool to explore positive mental health. 

I printed out a load of coloured apples and then got staff to think about what one thing (or few things) they did for the mental health every day.

She also shared the benefits of using the Mind & Body Health and Wellbeing Toolkit with the A&E team at St Thomas’ Hospital:

It’s something that’s been developed by experts across King’s Health Partners and it gave us lots of ideas, but also there are websites signposted in it to share with staff.

3. I hear you

Later on in the year, Mind & Body Clinical Lead Naomi Stent explored the importance of early detection of mental health concerns. She shares:

Ultimately, listening is something we are all able to do, whatever role we play in someone's life either personal or professional. Do not underestimate the power of these three words: 'I hear you'. Start conversations with those in your life who you think might need support. Reassure them that it's okay to not to be okay. Encourage them to seek help. Every mind matters.

4. Inspiring teamwork

Mind & body team on MS TeamsWe hear from Sophie, Mind and Body Senior Project Manager, about how her team has been supporting each other, while adapting to work in different settings:

During April and May, the Mind and Body team, like many others during the COVID-19 crisis have been working remotely at home. The potential adverse impact of being in isolation for prolonged periods is well documented. Therefore, the team have invested much thought into how best to check in with one another both physically and mentally, maintain a positive and productive team spirit and maximise morale.
The team has daily Microsoft Team meetings each morning and chairing is shared equally amongst all members. A nominated social secretary has organised a range of Microsoft Teams channels and each team member has a role to play in generating ideas and making things happen. We have held several quiz nights, lunch and afternoon coffee breaks, organised a cheese and wine evening and TED Talk discussions. We have even shared various talents in guitar playing, singing, making birthday e-cards and providing advice and tips on growing-your-own vegetables.
The team’s also made a great effort on their health fitness, some reducing their alcohol intake and not drinking in more than eight weeks, others running 5km a day for a month!
During this challenging time, maintaining social interactions and connections with loved ones and colleagues are more important than ever. It is also important that we take time out for ourselves, and remember that a little extra kindness really does go a long way.

King’s Health Partners Mind & Body is committed to joining up mental and physical healthcare, training and research to improve health outcomes for our patients and service users.

If you are interested in becoming a Mind and Body Champion, you can find out more on our Mind & Body Champion microsite.