World Mental Health Day is marked on 10th October, and as many of our customers will know, bringing awareness and understanding to this topic is something that’s very close to my heart.
Over the past five years we have donated £34,000 to our three mental health charity partners Mind, Black Minds Matter UK and The Loveland Foundation.
These funds have helped an estimated 700 people take a crucial first step to having a conversation or therapy session with a professional. In the grand scheme, that’s a tiny number and we want to support many, many more.
This year’s World Mental Health Day theme focuses on mental health in an unequal world. Something our charity partners work particularly hard to address by making mental health support more readily accessible to those who need (and struggle to find) it most.
While Mind’s figures show that one in four people will experience a mental health problem in any given year, we know that these issues disproportionately affect minority women, with mental health issues being more common in Black women than among other ethnic groups, according to the NHS. And the disparities don’t stop there. Mind's research in 2021 found that 58% of people receiving benefits said their mental health was poor, while in 2020 NHS Digital found that Black people are four times more likely to be detained under the Mental Health Act than white people.
The pandemic has compounded the issue and had a devastating effect on the nation’s mental health, whether it's because of bereavement, the impacts of lockdown and loneliness or the economic recession.
In the last year there has been a 703% increase in people seeking advice and information about anxiety; more than 75% of people surveyed said that their mental health had worsened as a result of the pandemic*.
Getting access to mental health support is too often determined by who we are, how much we earn or even our postcode, and that has to change. But the positive news is that there are helplines and services that can help you take that first step.
So this World Mental Health Day, that’s our message - to open up and have that first conversation be it with a friend or a kind stranger.
- Talk to a loved one. Whether it’s a text, a voice note, a phone call or an honest talk on your next walk - tell someone you’re struggling.
- Call Mind’s Infoline on 0300 123 3393. It’s open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for Bank Holidays).
- Visit Mind’s website and use their live chat to talk to a trained advisor.
- If you prefer to text, contact SHOUT by texting ‘SHOUT’ to 85258. This is a free, 24/7 confidential text service.
- For Black Minds Matter UK, contact them via their website to sign up to the newsletter and keep up to date with workshops.
- Call the Samaritans on 116 123 - it's a free, 24/7 helpline, 365 days a year.
- If you’re in the US and are interested in The Loveland Foundation’s therapy fund, apply on their website to find out more.
Thank you so much for your ongoing support - and be sure to look out for our upcoming Cyber Week sale to take advantage of some great savings while raising funds for this important cause. You can also donate directly too, through any of the links above.
And finally - and most importantly - take a moment today to check in with those around you. You never know who might need a friendly ear and what a difference it might make.
*Rethink Mental Illness
Image credit - Loveland Foundation