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Mental Health Week… “love your neighbour as yourself” said Jesus. Five words each with equal value

21 May 2020

Mental Health Awareness Week (18th – 24th May 2020) is an annual event hosted by the Mental Health Foundation (MHF). Mark Rowland, the chief executive, made a decision to change the planned theme, this year, in response to the coronavirus outbreak when he was moved by an act of kindness from a supermarket staff member who brought umbrellas for people queuing in the rain. As the MHF says: “…kindness is an antidote to isolation and creates a sense of belonging. It helps reduce stress, brings a fresh perspective and deepens friendships. Kindness to ourselves can prevent shame from corroding our sense of identity and help boost our self-esteem. Kindness can even improve feelings of confidence and optimism.”

Carole Smith, MBC Seniors’ Worker says ‘Reading this quote about the power of kindness, reminded me of Jesus’ command to ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ (Matthew 22 v 39.  I think that sometimes as Christians, there is a tendency to absorb the first part of that command but not the second! We can only love others well if we also love ourselves well. 

In this difficult time of uncertainty and isolation, it is so important that we take care of ourselves and that includes our mental health and wellbeing, as well as our physical health.  Each of us is precious to God and to those around us, and treating ourselves with kindness acknowledges that worth and value. 

In our mailout to Lunch Club seniors this week we have included a ‘Week of Kindness’ planner which Mindwell Leeds have created as a way of encouraging people to consider how to recognise and respond to their own need for kindness, and also how kindness can be spread to others. 

Perhaps this resource would be an encouragement and help to you and your families too?”


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