The theme of National Mental Health Awareness week (May 9 -15th) this year is ‘Loneliness’. Coming so soon after the pandemic it seems a particularly appropriate theme since we have all experienced first-hand, to a greater or lesser extent, the effects of reduced contact with others.
Here in St Joseph’s and St John the Baptist’s in East Brighton the monks through the Parish Wellbeing Group are using the week to build on the previous year’s work to raise awareness, reduce stigma and improve the experience of those who experience social isolation and challenges to their mental health in Brighton & Hove.
The Mental Health UK website describes loneliness as, ‘a normal part of life with most of us feeling lonely at some point’. Loneliness it says, ‘is not about the number of friends we have, the time we spend on our own or something that happens when we reach a certain age. Loneliness is the feeling we experience when there is a mismatch between the social connections we have and those that we need or want.
Mental Health Awareness Week gives us all an opportunity to reflect on loneliness, to share a little with others our experience, and to reach out in simple practical ways to someone who may be feeling a bit isolated. Here are a few links you can use to engage further with the theme of loneliness.
Find a 10 minute training session to help understand better how social isolation can affect our mental health.
Learn more about National Mental Health Awareness week.
Use the prayer for Mental Health Awareness Week (below), remembering all those who are struggling with their health and wellbeing at present and those who are supporting them.
Loving Father, give us eyes to see our lives more as You do. Your word tells us that you care for us and protect us, as a Shepherd watches over his whole flock. During this week for mental health awareness inspire us all afresh, to be more alert to each other’s needs, especially those who may feel lonely or isolated in any way. Help us to reach out, welcome and include everyone, and in so doing, to learn how to create real community. Make us all aware of our need for You and for one another and more able to rest in your peace. Amen.
You can access a reflection on loneliness from a faith perspective via the ‘Reflections’ tab.