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Loneliness can play a big part in the decline of someone's mental health, which is why this year it is the official theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2022. In the aftermath of the Pandemic, it is vital that Loneliness is our college and in our community is made aware of to as many as possible. There may be people who struggled hard with this during the lockdowns who couldn't reach out, or those who are suffering now and don't know what to do. Here are some tips and ways that we can connect with each other to get to the heart of this issue.
Reach Out/Raise Awareness
If you are experiencing loneliness or know someone who is, it is easy to think that no-one will want to help, and therefore not reach out, but it is always best to do so! Here at Ashford College, our staff will be willing to listen to all issues and problems that may be affecting you, and can support you in anyway that we can. There are also external services that are available to contact anytime, such as the Samaritans on 116 123, or We are With You, which is a Kent and Sussex based charity that you can refer yourself to without GP approval. (thinkaction.org.uk)
You don't always know how someone is feeling, so even just saying Hello to them in the mornings could make their day, and improve their mental health. If you notice someone has been seeming distant or is not actively engaged, start a conversation. They may be worried about something or unsure of how to join in the conversation, so just giving them a helping hand can make all the difference.
There are lots of charities that have positive impact on people's Mental Health, whether it is a speciality of theirs such as Mind, or those that don't. By volunteering your time with them, you could have such a positive impact on someone who really needs it, for example by talking to them at a charity shop where you volunteer, or by helping to give out items at a foodbank. Even though loneliness is a big issue, it can be the little things that really make a change. At our college, we have worked in the past with organisations to bring change to many people, such as when our ESOL (English Speakers of Other Languages) students helped out with Southeastern and the Kent CRP to improve Charing railway station's appearance for its staff and passengers.
Ask others to act:
Sometimes people may not want to get involved with the idea of Mental Health as they assume it won't affect them or that they can't do anything . By raising this awareness in your community and asking others to act and follow up on those who need it, we will get down to the causes of the issue. No-one knows when Mental Health will affect them, and everyone can help in any shape or form.
We hope this has helped highlight the issue of loneliness and the idea of Mental Health Week 2022, but for more information, please visit mental-health.uk.org.