This week (9 – 15 May) marks the UK’s Mental Health Awareness Week – an annual opportunity for us all to come together to talk about mental health and to help break down the stigma surrounding it.
The theme for this year’s Awareness Week is loneliness.
Loneliness impacts many of us at one time or another in our lives and is a key driver of poor mental health. It affects millions of people in the UK every year and, according to The Mental Health Foundation’s Pandemic research, levels of loneliness have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
It is easy to confuse being alone with loneliness. You can choose to be alone and be very happy in your own company. You can also be surrounded by lots of people and feel lonely. Loneliness is personal and it is important to understand that people’s experiences will differ. Mental health charity, Mind, describes it as ‘the feeling we get when our need for rewarding social contact and relationships is not met.’
So this Mental Health Awareness Week, we are focussing on the importance of connection and what we can do to help ourselves and others to overcome feelings of loneliness.
As part of this, we’ve been asking our team and people from across the professions about what connection means to them in our ‘Let’s Get Connected’ blog series. We will be adding new entries to this throughout the week so do keep an eye out!
- Macauly Gatenby – Veterinary Nursing Student, British Veterinary Association Student Representative, Mind Matters Initiative Taskforce Member
- Abi Hanson – Mind Matters Initiative Officer
- Lacey Pitcher RVN – Mind Matters Initiative Outreach and Engagement Senior Officer
- Dr Samantha Butler-Davies BVSc MRCVS – Veterinary Clinical Services Manager
- Scott Kilpatrick BSc BVM&S MSc DipECVIM-CA MRCVS – European & RCVS Specialist in Internal Medicine