Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has today (Monday) marked the launch of Mental Health Awareness Week, the UK’s national week to raise awareness of mental health.
The week, which is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, is in its 20th year and runs from 18-24th May.
This year, the theme for the week is kindness. Across the country, people will be celebrating kindness in a range of digital and creative ways within social distancing restrictions.
Mr McArthur commented:
“Mental Health Awareness Week is an opportunity for us all to raise awareness of the importance of protecting our mental health and wellbeing. Poor mental health can strike at any time and nobody is immune from the challenges that it presents.
“This year, the impact of Covid-19 on our lives heightens the risk of experiencing poor mental health. It is therefore important that we recognise the need to be kind to ourselves and also take the time to look out for others by finding ways to stay connected. Every conversation and act of kindness really can make a difference.
“Longer term, we must ensure that lessons are learnt from this pandemic so that the right support is in place for those who need it. The Scottish Liberal Democrats are calling for every workplace to have access to a trained mental health first aider and for additional support to be available for frontline health and social care workers.
“It is also crucial that the government develops a robust plan to cope with inevitable increased demands on mental health services as a result of the pandemic. I will be pressing the government to consider these steps and ensure that awareness and support for mental health remains high on the political agenda”.
Mark Rowland Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation said:
“This year may be the most important week we have ever hosted, as we deal with coping and recovering from the coronavirus pandemic. We must do all we can to reduce the psychological and social impacts of the pandemic which could outlast the physical symptoms of the virus.
“At time when we must socially isolate, stories of kindness have helped spread a shared sense of connection and joy. The research backs this up - kindness is deeply connected to mental health. The message this Mental Health Awareness Week is that kindness matters. It matters to our mental health and it will matter hugely in the society we build from here – one that better protects our mental health.”