When is Mental Health Awareness Week 2022? Why the theme is loneliness and how to get involved in the UK event

Mental Health Awareness Week runs from today until 15 May this year.

It is an annual event and gives the whole of the UK the opportunity to focus on achieving good mental health.

This year’s theme is loneliness.

It is hoped the week will raise awareness of the impact of loneliness on our mental wellbeing and the practical steps we can take to address it.

What is Mental Health Awareness Week?

The Mental Health Foundation has set the theme and hosted Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK for the past 22 years.

It takes place every year and its aim, among others, is to start conversations about our mental health.

According to recent research by the Mental Health Foundation one in four (25 per cent) UK adults have felt lonely some, or all of the time, over the previous month.

You can find more information here.

Why is this year’s theme loneliness?

Loneiness affects millions of people in the UK every year and contributes significantly to poor mental health.

The Mental Health Foundation’s Mental Health in the Pandemic research found that loneliness has been exacerbated by the Covid pandemic.

It adds: “Loneliness has been an important factor contributing to higher levels of distress, resulting from people’s sense of isolation and reduced ability to connect with others.

“Further polling also found that loneliness was one of the leading issues that the public felt needed to be addressed.”

Mark Rowland, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation, said: “Loneliness is affecting more and more of us in the UK and has had a huge impact on our physical and mental health during the pandemic.

“That is why we have chosen it as our theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2022. Our connection to other people and our community is fundamental to protecting our mental health so we must find better ways of tackling the epidemic of loneliness.

“We can all play a part in this. The week is also an invaluable opportunity for people to talk about all aspects of mental health, with a focus on providing help and advice.”

How can I get involved?

Mental Health UK suggests a number of ways to get involved, including:

1. Raise awareness

2. Invite conversations

3. Volunteer your time

4. Ask others to act

It also suggests downloading its Connect for Mental Health board to help you “build meaningful connections with your friends, family, colleagues, and communities throughout Mental Health Awareness Week and beyond”.

There are other guides to what you can do on its website.

Mental Health charity Mind is using spoken word to show the different ways people talk about their experiences during Mental Health Awareness Week.

The Mental Health Foundation has got a number of resources including shareable social media graphics as well as posters and Zoom backdrops to use when you’re making video calls.

It is also encouraging people to share their experience of loneliness on social media and include #IveBeenThere.

Events connected to Mental Health Awareness Week may well also be taking place at your workplace and in your local area.

For emotional support, please contact Samaritans helpline on 116 123. For anyone seeking information on help and support in their area, contact Mind Infoline on 0300 123 3393 or text 86463.

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