Mental Health Awareness Week – MAY 18th

Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Awareness Week will take place from 18- 24 May 2020. The theme is kindness.

May 18th to May 24th is Mental Health Awareness Week and this year it’s very special – why? Because the main topic is kindness and I think we all need a bit of love and kindness just now. Don’t forget that kindness needs to be self-care too!

This year’s theme focuses on kindness and Chief Executive Mark Rowland explains why they are focusing on this topic.

“Why kindness?  

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.

Kindness and Mental Health 

Kindness is defined by doing something towards yourself and others, motivated by genuine desire to make a positive difference.  We know from the research that kindness and our mental health are deeply connected. The research shows that kindness is an antidote to isolation and creates a sense of belonging. It helps reduce stress, brings a fresh perspective and deepens friendships. Kindness to
ourselves can prevent shame from corroding our sense of identity and help boost our self-esteem.  Kindness can even improve feelings of confidence and optimism.“

Self-care and kindness to yourself is crucial, not just during your period but all month long. During your period your hormones are disrupted and the roles that the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone play in a woman's reproductive health are well known, but it's less commonly known that they also impact mental health.

The point to make, is that even though we tend to think of these hormones as the reproductive hormones, they also have a really, really big impact in the brain Prof Kulkarni says.

There are times in the menstrual cycle when oestrogen levels are high, and [at these times] women tend to feel better in their mood; she says. "They also tend to be better with such things as what we call verbal memory; or talking skills. This is around ovulation and around the first part of the cycle. Progesterone levels also start to climb in the second part of the cycle, after ovulation. This can, in some women, increase the likelihood of lowered mood, depression and other issues”

Prof Kulkarni says it's important to keep in mind that all women respond differently to their own hormonal patterns. Some women are particularly sensitive to their changing levels, while others may not feel any effect.

A few great tips for your mental health during your period:

  • being careful with anything that's going to impair brain health, such as drugs or alcohol,
  • keep your body active and healthy in terms of exercise and good-quality food
  • Being connected and connectedness in our lives is really important to give us meaning
  • and rest of course. #SelfCareMatters