The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week couldn’t be more apt. 
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to a standstill. We have had to find ingenious ways to remain connected, and having being forced to all stay at home or stay indoors, either alone or with our families and friends (for those living with people who are not family), we have had to do a lot of things differently. The fight for survival has led us to revert to type – being human. 
The word ‘unprecedented’ has been used a million times over. We are indeed living in unprecedented times. For many of us, this has been a struggle. The fear of us or our loved ones contracting the disease, the fear of losing our livelihoods, the level of uncertainty in the global economy, not being able to travel or see our loved ones, having things we had been looking forward to cancelled… the list is endless. 
Jobs are at risk, people been put on furlough… never knew that word until 8 weeks ago. For those able to continue working and work from home, some are having to juggle home responsibilities including looking after young children whilst maintaining productivity. In some homes, more than one person is trying to work from home. Others live in shared accommodation where they only have their bedroom space and don’t have a separate room or space in the house to work. What about a garden? 
Some children can continue their studies because they have decent wi-fi and laptops to use. Others are not so fortunate. Lockdown has highlighted the level of inequality in our societies. I support a school in Central London with their Careers Education. l felt sad when I learnt about the challenges they were experiencing. 
I mentioned in a recent webinar that even the most resilient of us have experienced highs and lows during the lockdown. So I am not surprised by the recent news that some people who previously never suffered from mental health issues are now presenting with symptoms.  
According to a report on CNN, the pandemic is affecting global mental health.  
Therefore, if you are feeling low, you are not alone. We are all in this together. Now, more than ever, kindness matters. 
I always say "Every challenge is an opportunity." Despite the doom and gloom over the past couple of months, there have been some positives emanating from the crisis. People have been connecting as they have never done before. Kindness has become a thing. 
People are supporting one another, the community spirit has come alive and there is hope. People have also been finding ingenious ways to cheer one another up. 
Helping others is good for our mental health and wellbeing. Whenever I help someone, whenever someone opens up to me and I get to see a different perspective on issues, it helps me to reflect upon my own situation. I remember coaching someone during a time when I was going through issues myself. It felt like therapy for me. 
However, to give back, and be kind, you need to start with being kind to yourself. Be self-aware. Know your triggers. Don’t get overwhelmed. Switch off when it gets too much. Choose your battles. Sometimes it isn’t worth it. Stay away from people or situations that have a negative impact on your mental health. Practice self-care. It could be something simple like a nice bath, a few candles, listening to your favourite music, going for a walk, connecting with nature, ringing up a friend and having a good laugh…I am a strong advocate of self-care. 
If you are finding things difficult during this pandemic, try to limit your consumption of the news or things that make you feel anxious or worried, look at the bigger picture. Things will get better. Nothing lasts forever. 
As Her Majesty the Queen said during her Easter message “We should take comfort that, while we may have more still to endure, better days will return we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.” 
If you are struggling and need support, please do not suffer in silence. Life is for living and there is always a solution to a problem. 
Please see the links below for help and assistance, I have also included a couple of blogs I have found useful. 
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