Let’s all be more mindful of our neighbours as part of Mental Health Awareness Week

For annual Mental Health Awareness Week from 14-20 May, this year Tower Hamlets Council is encouraging residents to look out for one another to help reduce loneliness and isolation.

Every year the campaign, led by national charity the Mental Health Foundation, aims to raise awareness, promote positive mental health and wellbeing, and address mental ill-health issues.

Good mental wellbeing is fundamental to our physical health, our relationships, our education, our work and to achieving our potential. Evidence shows that connecting with people and forming positive relationships are important for our wellbeing and help give us a sense of belonging, self-worth, security and a greater sense of purpose.¹

Inspire, a group of local mental health services, is hosting an interactive event as part of Mental Health Awareness Week that aims to explore mental health and support people’s journeys to recovery.

Drop by for taster sessions, workshops, activities and a light lunch on Monday 14 May from 12pm-4pm at the Atlee Centre, 5 Thrawl Street E1 6RT or contact Amy at 07703 472 575, amy.colwill@community-options.org.uk

Locally, the council has increasingly been recognising loneliness and social isolation as a serious health concern that’s having a detrimental impact on health and wellbeing, affecting people of all ages. It can lead to poorer physical and mental health and increases chances of developing dementia, depression and early death.

Mayor John Biggs said: “The council recognises that loneliness and  isolation is a growing problem and can be harmful to people’s overall health. Having social connections is an important part of good mental health and wellbeing. 

“We are looking to the community and partner organisations to see what we can collectively do to reduce the suffering of residents from loneliness.”

As social connection is so important for overall wellbeing, the council is encouraging residents to get involved in The Great Get Together (TGGT) from 22nd – 24th June 2018. The event sees residents and community groups host events with their neighbours and invite those who might be lonely or isolated such as those in care homes, people who live alone, the bereaved, those with poorer health or reduced mobility, carers, refugees and people with mental illness.

The annual event is inspired by former MP Jo Cox, who was sadly killed on 16 June 2016. Jo used her platform to raise the profile of the hidden crisis of loneliness and TGGT is a celebration in honour of her, bringing communities together to celebrate what unites us all.

The council is offering 30 party packs with essential items such as paper plates, cups, plastic cutlery, table cloths and napkins for Tower Hamlets residents and community groups that host events as part of TGGT. Hosts will need to register with TGGT and then notify the council, with items distributed on a first-come first-served basis.

Register your event at www.greatgettogether.org/ and apply for your party pack by Friday 8 June.

A report on loneliness published by the Office of National Statistics in April, said that young adults aged 16 to 24 years in England reported feeling lonely more often than those in older age groups.²

The overall findings of the report also found renters reported feeling lonely more often than homeowners as well as people who didn’t feel a part of their neighbourhood.

The Tower Hamlets Health and Wellbeing Board (HWBB) stated a commitment to taking action towards loneliness and public health commissioned research that provided valuable insight into people’s views, experiences and common themes. Tackling loneliness is also a priority in the council’s Ageing Well Strategy 2017-20 and Community Plan 2015-20.

Tower Hamlets Council and partners offer a range of services for people feeling lonely and isolated. There are also services and specialists that support those with mental health issues.

For more information contact Anna Wilson, communications adviser, anna.wilson@towerhamlets.gov.uk, 0207 364 6288.