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Mental Health Awareness Week
Mothers’ Union Mends Mental Health
Lockdowns are tough. Prolonged separation is hard. The increased lifestyle restrictions of the last year presented new and unwanted challenges for many. Within the stay-at-home environment there have been the undesirable tests of loneliness, isolation and boredom, on top of the normal stresses of day-to-day life.
On the other side of the coin, whilst schools were closed, large numbers of families found themselves in crowded homes, with little personal space. Homeschooling and extra childcare brought changes to routines, disruptions to established working patterns and stress inducing situations.
The Rise of Mental Well-Being
Looking after one’s mindset and overall mental well-being had actually been coming to prominence before the pandemic, pushed by the persistence of lifestyle gurus on fitness programmes and the take off of mindfulness apps. Now though, it has notably risen to top of many people’s personal agendas.
Whilst many of us have felt community togetherness has increased over the last year, not all have been able to benefit from these positive changes due to persistent problems with their mental well-being.
This Mental Health Awareness Week, Mothers’ Union is reassuring members, supporters and friends of the movement that it is there for them, through the hard times and the good. As a movement embedded at community level, we know that we can get involved with projects at both the individual and societal levels.
What’s This Week All About?
Mental Health Awareness Week is an opportunity for people to talk about all aspects of mental health, with a focus on providing help and advice. This year, the theme is ‘nature’ and the idea is for people to notice nature around them and try to make a habit of connecting to nature every day.
The Mental Health Foundation recommends the following activities:
- Stop to listen to the birdsong
- Smell the freshly cut grass or air just after rain
- Take care of a house plant
- Notice any trees, flowers or animals when out walking
- Take a moment to appreciate the connections between the natural and the human world, how each depend on each other
Mothers’ Union heartily recommends connecting with nature in these ways. Yet these are on an individual, and perhaps personal level. Fortunately, as a movement Mothers’ Union is able to mobilize resources to provide substantial action on a larger scale to deliver optimal outcomes for great numbers of people. Take what is happening in Kenya, for example.
Our Programme in Kenya
In Kenya, a mental health programme is being established to promote mental well-being and better relationships within the family and society. The objectives include:
- Providing the capacity to address mental health issues, ensuring the identification and capacity building to support people suffering from mental health problems.
- Raising awareness on mental health issues and identification of these across all groups of people (men, women, youth and children).
- Handling of cases of mental health problems through the church. This includes the actual counselling or psychological first aid to those suffering from the mental health problems.
These objectives will be achieved through sustained action involving co-ordinated messaging in the church and community i.e. social media, seminars/webinars and pulpit messages. The beneficiaries will include congregants as well as other non-congregant community members.
What is demonstrated here is that Mothers’ Union is in a position to both promote well-being through encouragement, and instigate lasting change through the use of programmes. It is this dual-pronged approach that makes our work to end violence, poverty and inequality so exhilarating.