By Helen Webb, Chief People and Services Officer

This year Mental Health Awareness Week is focused on kindness – something that’s really important to me personally.

When we’re growing up, we’re taught that being kind is important, but sometimes in the grind of daily life, we stop focusing on it. But over the last few months I think we’ve all really understood just how important it is.

The Mental Health Foundation, who organise Mental Health Awareness Week, have put together some lovely words to explain their focus: ‘We’ve chosen kindness because of its singular ability to unlock our shared humanity. Kindness strengthens relationships, develops community and deepens solidarity. It’s a cornerstone of our individual and collective mental health…’.

You’re all showing great kindness to our customers, communities and to each other every day. You may not even realise the impact of your gestures, but I’ve been blown away by the stories I’m hearing every day through the crisis. You really are our #localheroes.

Be kind to yourself

It’s just as important for you to be kind to yourself as it is to others, and understanding your own mental health is a really good place to start. That’s why we’ve created the Great Mental Health Quiz – a short quiz to help you think about you and the things you can do to improve your mental health.

I’d really recommend doing the quiz as it gives you a quick opportunity to reflect on how you’re doing, with some links to our mental health toolkit and you get a personal report with the three things you can easily do to improve your mental health.

It just takes a few minutes and no personal data is collected, so you can retake the quiz as often as you like.

So, during this week, keep kindness front of mind and think about how you can be kind to others and to yourself. Maybe you could take the time to thank a colleague who’s made your day or boost your own mood by doing some exercise you enjoy. You can share how you’re being kind on social media, use the hashtags #KindnessMatters and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.

Take care.