Despite the suffering and hardship COVID-19 has brought to so many, we have witnessed an extraordinary level of human kindness as individuals, communities and countries have joined forces to support one another at this time. We have seen retired medical professionals return to the frontline, people volunteering their time and money to support vulnerable members of their community, whole streets paying respect to the NHS and keyworkers and, of course, the lovely Captain Tom Moore raising more than £30 million for NHS Charities Together.
Since its first Mental Health Awareness campaign in 2001, the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) has helped to raise awareness of topics such as body image, stress and relationships. This May, their focus is on kindness and Mark Rowland, chief executive of MHF, explains the reasons why on the charity’s website. ‘We have chosen kindness because of its singular ability to unlock our shared humanity. Kindness strengthens relationships, develops community and deepens solidarity. It is a cornerstone of our individual and collective mental health. Wisdom from every culture across history recognises that kindness is something that all human beings need to experience and practise to be fully alive.’
And as positive psychology expert from Action for Happiness, Vanessa King, recently highlighted in an article for FHT’s membership magazine, International Therapist, it’s good for our health and wellbeing too. ‘When we give to others, without expecting anything in return, not only is it nice for the person on the receiving end, it releases endorphins and activates the reward centres in our brain, as if we are getting a gift or reward of some kind.’