Mental Health Awareness Week

 Lucy Muchina 20 May 2020

The government recently relaxed the lockdown rules and we are now allowed as much out outdoor exercise as we want. 

Hands holding each other

Being able to get out, run or take the dog out for a walk is something most of us look forward to doing in the current climate. The benefits are many, for example it relieves boredom and helps us to see and enjoy nature. It also improves our physical health but also our emotional health as well.

Having recently started taking walks round the block where I live, I have to say that just seeing a few more people in the neighbourhood and others jogging - keeping the two-metre distance of course - puts a smile on my face. 

I caught up with a friend of mine Jo, who has been unable to go out as they are shielding. She has decided to do exercises indoors. She is joining others using social media and told me how wonderful the experience is. She has even managed to find new friends!

The term mental health is commonly used and is one relevant to all age groups and gender in any part of the world.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines mental health as not just the absence of mental disorder but a state of wellbeing in which every individual realises their own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to their community.

What’s helpful about this definition is that having good mental health is not about living without problems or feeling happy all the time. It’s about recognising that we are all human beings and live in a world far from being perfect. It means that we can sometimes feel stressed, disappointed but also feel sad and happy and excited at other times.

This week is the Mental Health Awareness Week, with a theme of kindness. I have come across great examples of kindness during the pandemic.

Examples include #clapforourcarers and the efforts of Captain Tom Moore, to mention just a couple. We know that for every act of kindness, the greater benefit is on the giver. So let’s get out and sow those seeds of kindness.

Further resources

Read COVID-19 and your mental wellbeing.

Read April's RCN Bulletin article 'Nursing in a pandemic: remember to care for yourself too'.

Read May's RCN Bulletin article 'In a world where you can be anything, be kind'.

Lucy Muchina

Lucy Muchina

Regional Director, RCN South West

Lucy is a registered nurse with extensive experience working in the South West.

She has over 21 years’ experience spanning acute and community health settings, including nursing homes. 

Lucy qualified as a registered nurse and midwife in Nairobi, Kenya in 1992 before moving to England. Her postgraduate qualifications include a BSc in Health and Community studies and an MSc in Public Health, both from the University of the West of England. She has also completed her training as a public health practitioner.

In addition to the clinical roles Lucy has undertaken during her career she has worked for several years in senior safeguarding roles in acute and community health settings including the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group.


Page last updated - 20/05/2020