May 6, 2022
Monday 9th May marks 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 22nd year and runs until 15 May.
This year, the theme for the week is ‘Loneliness’. Loneliness is affecting millions of people in UK including many here in Cumbria and has had a huge impact on our physical and mental health during the pandemic. Our connection to other people and our community is fundamental to protecting our mental health and we need to find better ways of tackling the epidemic of loneliness.
HOW CAN TAKING PART IN PHYSICAL ACTIVITY HELP?
Research shows that Physical activity is not only good for your body, it's also great for your mind. Being active releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel good - boosting your self-esteem and helping you concentrate as well as sleep well and feel better.
Taking part in regular physical activity is also a great way to meet new people and develop friendships. Even solo sports such as running and cycling provide opportunity to mix with others, share experiences and connect. All of which can help reduce the feelings of loneliness.
HOW TO REACH OUT
We know that taking the first step towards joining a new club or activity can be daunting. That’s why we’ve made it easy to find a wide range of clubs and organisations offering sports and physical activity near you using the activity finder on our website.
From Angling to Yoga and everything in between why not check out what’s available in your area and take that first step either for yourself or to help lift someone out of loneliness. There are opportunities for all ages and abilities right across Cumbria.
You may also like to join in one of the many Ramblers Wellbeing Walks taking place across Cumbria. Walks are short, easy and at a pace to suit you and your ability.
Christine from Maryport a Wellbeing Walks walk leader – shares her story:
"I first joined the Ramblers in Scotland more than 25 years ago, when I found myself living alone and wanted to make new friends. I loved it so much that I wanted to give something back to the group and became a leader of easy walks. When I moved to Cumbria I started the Maryport Wellbeing Walkers and I hope that people will join me to walk along the prom or around the harbour and discover hidden corners of the town.”
Many of the activities offer opportunities for children and young people. Families can enjoy free Saturday morning games with ParkPlay which offers free, fun games and activities in local parks and green spaces every Saturday morning in Cumbria.
Move for Health free sessions are running in Kendal and Ulverston and are designed to help those living with long term health conditions. Sessions support making positive changes to your physical and mental wellbeing whilst socialising with others – they are very friendly and welcoming too. Find out more here
SUPPORT FOR OGANISATIONS AND CLUBS
For organisations and clubs involved in the delivery of physical activity and sport Mind have developed a number of resources and guides to help support those of us with mental health problems to become more active. These include a Mental Health and Physical Activity Toolkit which you can find on-line here.
Active Cumbria offer a number of courses to support clubs and organisations in the sport and physical activity sector around the subject of mental health including Mental Health Awareness for Sport & Physical Activity. This three-hour workshop is designed to give coaches, volunteers, sport administrators and front-of-house staff the confidence to support people with experience of mental health problems to be more active. Find out more and enquire here
Mark Rowland Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation said:
“We hope this year’s theme of loneliness will strike a chord with many of us who felt lonely and struggled throughout the Covid pandemic.
“Millions of us experience loneliness from time to time. We know that some people are at higher risk of experiencing loneliness and the evidence shows the longer we feel lonely, the more we are at risk of mental health problems.
“Loneliness deserves more attention and we’re calling on everyone who has struggled as a result of being lonely to share their experiences. We must work together - as individuals, as a society and through government policy - to reduce loneliness and prevent mental health problems by investing in welcoming, social spaces and new community initiatives.”
FURTHER INFORMATION AND HELP
You can find more information about Mental Health Awareness Week on-line here
Visit the Every Mind Matters loneliness webpage for support and advice on dealing with loneliness.
If you’d like to contact Active Cumbria please do so using our on-line form.