By Becky Griffiths, Community Partnerships Fund Adviser

The pandemic continues to have an impact on people’s mental wellbeing, with 65% of adults and 68% of young people reporting their mental health has got worse. So, it’s almost certain that someone you love or care for will be affected.  

In addition, recent research with Co-op Members showed 76% think mental wellbeing is an important issue for their communities and 70% say they know people who could benefit from support with their mental wellbeing. 

We know that feeling connected to our community supports our mental wellbeing. So, we’re asking you this Mental Health Awareness Week (9 – 15 May) to get your community together and help us raise the final £400,000 for Mind, SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) and Inspire. 

Together, we can raise £8m! Our fundraising guide is packed with ideas on how to get involved. 

We’ve come a long way in our partnership with Mind, SAMH and Inspire and your fundraising is changing lives already, supporting over 8,000 people across the UK, through services like No Gimmicks, Straight Lyrics  in London, The Hive in Tameside and Oldham and Growing Chrysalis in Dundee. 

To inspire you, here’s what your fellow colleagues have been doing: 

  • Zara Green in the Data and Loyalty team organised a two-day charity wellbeing event in 1 Angel Square to fundraise for Mind, which included yoga classes, Bollywood dancing seminar, a raffle and more
  • Lauren Woodfield, Team Leader in Milborne Port held a community charity bingo, with 120 people attending, raising £1,300! Milborne Port, Sherborne and Templecombe stores worked together to organise and deliver the bingo
  • Jackie Baker the Member Pioneer Co-ordinator for Glasgow East and Lanarkshire is fundraising for SAMH. Jackie and a few others are doing an ‘Eastend Walkabout’ stopping at each Co-op Food Store and Funeralcare Branch in the area on 11 May to raise funds

If you’re shopping in a Co-op store over lunchtime this week, make sure to listen to Co-op radio as our colleagues take over from 11am – 12pm to share what fundraising activity is happening and how money already raised is making a difference to local communities. Don’t forget, you can also encourage our customers and members to donate between 50p and £5 to Mind, SAMH and Inspire at the till in any of our Food stores across the UK. 

Supporting your own mental wellbeing is important 

As a colleague, there’s support available to you; from counselling with our provider Lifeworks, to GP services via Smart Health as well as financial help and advice from Neyber. You can find out more about the resources here. 

Even a small improvement to your wellbeing can help you better manage your mental health. Our ‘Be kind to your mind’ guide has ways to support your own and others mental wellbeing. 

Helping others can have a positive impact on your own wellbeing. You can find things to do and groups in your area to support at Co-operate, our online community centre. 

Supporting loneliness 

Mental Health Awareness week happens every year in May, alongside a relating theme. This year’s theme is loneliness.  

Co-op Funeralcare are committed to ensuring that nobody experiences bereavement alone and together with Cruse Bereavement Support, launched a range of resources to help promote useful conversations around grief: co-op.co.uk/griefsupport

Chronic youth loneliness is on the rise, and this is linked to poor mental wellbeing for young people. The Co-op Foundation launched Lonely Not Alone in 2019 to tackle the stigma of youth loneliness. The campaign, which is made by young people for young people, is part of the Co-op Foundation’s £7m investment into combatting youth loneliness in communities. Find out how you can get involved by signing up to the Lonely Not Alone newsletter at lonelynotalone.org