#Shareyourkindness for Mental Health Awareness Week
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week.
Mental health problems can affect anyone, at any time and one in four people will experience some form of mental distress during their lifetime. This can include depression, anxiety, panic disorders and eating disorders, as well as conditions such as bipolar and schizophrenia.
So, for one week each May, an awareness campaign takes place to look at different themes that will encourage us to talk about mental health.
The theme for this Mental Health Awareness Week is kindness and the ways we can #Shareyourkindness for friends, family, work colleagues and our community.
Opportunities to be kind are all around us – and the smallest acts of kindness are often what make the biggest difference. Here are some examples of acts of kindness.
At Oxfordshire County Council we witness many acts of kindness from our staff, volunteers and partnership organisations, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. So, here are some examples of why #kindnessmatters for Mental Health Awareness Week and we encourage you to share examples too.
In this heart-warming story, staff in our Family Time Supervised Contact Team helped a father with a learning disability to physically meet his new born baby for the first time. Although it was outside of their usual remit, when the team found out that Dad had only been able to see his baby virtually due to social distancing restrictions, they stepped forward and coordinated a safe meeting, bringing much joy to everyone.
So much more than a day centre
In our ‘caring in a crisis’ series of news features we have been telling the stories of our adult social care teams, including Redlands Banbury Community Support Services who launched a new YouTube channel so day centre guests can enjoy singing, get involved with quizzes and receive companionship.
Craft packs bring joy
A member of staff, who had to self-isolate is missing one-to-one time with children, so she has created 100 craft packs to bring some joy to children. Each pack has a personalised set of instructions to ensure the child and their carer can make the item to encourage creativity.
We are supporting our local health care colleagues such as Oxford University Hospitals and Oxford Health to #clapforNHS and for carers every Thursday at 8pm. The gifts of gratitude and kindness cards are creatively colourful: see here.
Carer ID gives confidence
Are you trying to do a kind deed to obtain medication or groceries for a loved one? A Carer ID is available for paid and independent Carers who are providing care and support to young people and adults. It is a simple letter of authority which can be presented whilst out and about, should the Carer be challenged in places such as supermarkets.
Contact us at: CarerID@oxfordshire.gov.uk for further information.
To coincide with national #ThankATeacher Day on Wednesday 20 May, we’ve been inviting people to share messages of appreciation for teaching and support staff across the county. We want to pay tribute to those who are working tirelessly to provide lessons and resources remotely, while continuing to run classrooms for pupils of key workers.
At the start of the lockdown, carers came to county hall reception pick up PPE so they can support residents. Jennifer is a Team Leader from our Social and Community Services team and she created gift bags of sweets as a thoughtful surprise and act of kindness for our team of carers.
Staying connected with music
As we adapt to new and different ways to support people to stay connected while isolating, virtual tours of museums or gardens has been created as a resource. Kerrie Anne from our Oxford Community services voluntarily organises music workshops via Facebook live which are widely enjoyed by all who participate.
Helping vulnerable and concerned residents
Our colleague from the customer service team called a shielded resident who was identified as needing support. The family had four young children, were short of supplies, were very stressed and struggling to cope. We asked how they were coping and what they needed. Within 24 hours the resident called us back to say they had received a parcel with food, sanitary items and everything else they needed and more because they were extremely grateful for this act of kindness.
Our fleet service is continuing to transport special needs students from home to school, clients to residential care homes as well as operating the Oxfordshire Comet minibus service, which takes residents for essential shopping trips or to GP appointments. This act of kindness makes a difference to know that transport is available for people, when they really need it.
For help and information
- How to look after your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic
- Our website has a page dedicated to give you ideas about local information to support your wellbeing
- A new phone hotline launches to support mental health in Oxfordshire
- Mental health charity Mind has a ‘Five ways to wellbeing’ guide to help keep those anxious feelings at bay.
- Every Mind Matters provides simple tips and advice to take care of your mental health.