The coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on all of us, in ways we couldn’t have predicted; Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 is a reminder to keep talking about those experiences with the people around us.
There has never been a more critical time to talk about mental health.
The coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on all of us: whether you’re struggling to keep your worries about the virus under control or have found yourself dealing with loneliness for the first time, most of us will have had our fair share of bad days over the last couple of months.
With this has come a newfound confidence to talk about how we feel. Mental health is in the fabric of what we write about here at Stylist, yet over the last eight weeks, we’ve spent more time than ever unravelling our emotions among the team and exploring the rollercoaster of ups and downs we’ve all dealt with throughout lockdown. When we ask our friends and family members how they’re coping, there’s a newfound sense of solidarity: everyone is struggling in one way or another.
Now more than ever before, we’ve learnt what it’s like to be vulnerable, the importance of sharing that feeling with the people around us and the value of making emotional connections. And as the country begins to ease lockdown restrictions and some semblance of ‘normal’ life returns to our streets, this habit needs to continue.
The coronavirus crisis has highlighted the importance of protecting and talking about our mental health, and we need to sustain this conversation long after the crisis comes to an end. Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 couldn’t have come at a better time.
This year’s theme is kindness. It’s a chance for us to reflect on the type of world we want to build as we emerge from the pandemic. Despite the tragedy of the coronavirus outbreak, we’ve seen it bring out the best in many communities: from the way the nation rallied behind Captain Tom Moore to people buying food for neighbours they’d barely spoken to before this, a newfound willingness to connect and help those around us has emerged from isolation. At its heart, kindness is about a willingness – a willingness to support, listen, learn and be there for others. This Mental Health Awareness Week, we want to carry this spirit of kindness forward, and continue to share the stories that celebrate the strength and beauty of this outlook.
Throughout the pandemic, we’ve brought you truthful, relatable content which represents the emotional journey we’re all taking right now. From features on coping with anxiety and grief to viral posts from NHS workers about life on the frontline, we’ve given voice to the experiences of women up and down the country.
This Mental Health Awareness Week will be no different. Every day we’ll be posting mental health diaries from women on the frontline of the pandemic, exploring what their daily routine looks and feels like right now. You’ll hear from a supermarket worker ensuring we have access to the supplies we need to a teacher looking after the children of key workers.
You can also look forward to our Mental Health TV awards where we’ll be exploring the best onscreen depictions of mental health experiences, and the reason why accurate health representation is so important.
Elsewhere, we’ll be investigating why so many black women are being let down by mental health services in the UK. On Strong Women, we’ll be looking into the relationship between fitness, body image and mental health. We’ll be discussing how to cope with negative thoughts about your body, as well as investigating the strange pressure to perform that has fallen upon women in lockdown.
Now more than ever, listening to others talk about how they’re feeling (and sharing our own experiences in return) is one of the biggest acts of kindness we can show those around us. We hope our Mental Health Awareness Week gives you the knowledge and opportunities to do so, too.
As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time.
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