Mental Health Awareness Week 2022: Shining a spotlight on loneliness and welcoming the Wellbeing for Life Festival

Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council are raising awareness of the importance of protecting mental health, and how residents can help tackle loneliness and access local support.

A recent survey of 6,000 UK adults carried out by the Mental Health Foundation, the charity behind the campaign, found that 1 in 4 people felt lonely some or all of the time. Despite loneliness being experienced by so many, the stigma that exists can often prevent people from acknowledging they feel this way, both to themselves and to others. Loneliness isn’t a mental health problem; it can be completely normal to feel lonely from time to time. However, research shows that loneliness is associated with poor physical and mental health.  

To coincide with the end of MHAW, Coventry and Warwickshire’s Wellbeing for Life initiative will be holding a Wellbeing Festival bringing together over 30 local organisations and charities. The event aims to advise the public all about looking after their physical and mental health - from promoting services, signposting opportunities, and hosting activities, all in the name of helping people improve their wellbeing. Everyone is welcome and invited along to the Wellbeing Festival on Saturday 14 May at the Pump Room Gardens, Leamington Spa, where they will be able to pick up lots of ideas and advice to help them support their own and others’ physical and mental wellbeing. Visit the Wellbeing for Life website for more details. 

Anne Prendergast, Lead for Clinical Risk and Suicide Prevention at Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, said: “People’s mental health has been a huge issue over the last two years through the pandemic; we’ve felt isolated and anxious, we’ve experienced loss and had to learn how to grieve at a safe distance. Even though life is returning to ‘normal’ many people still don’t know what support is out there to help them through the tough times, which is why we wanted to bring the Wellbeing for Life Festival back in 2022.

“NHS services, charities, business and communities are all coming together to help promote health and wellbeing around Coventry and Warwickshire at this event – whether you’re seeking support, looking for something to get involved in, or wanting to give something back to the community, you’ll be able to find it in the Pump Room Gardens on Saturday 14 May.”

Portfolio Holder for Public Health and Sport at Coventry City Council, Cllr Kamran Caan said: “I am so pleased that this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week ties in with the Wellbeing for Life Festival. A huge part of health and wellbeing is about how well connected we feel to our community.   

"The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been so incredibly challenging for many of us and being able to have this event in person is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of living a happy, healthy life with a good sense of wellbeing. This event will offer residents of Coventry and Warwickshire a chance to reconnect with the services and organisations on their doorstep that can offer a vast array of support. 

“We want Coventry and Warwickshire to be a place where no one feels alone or isolated and to know there is always help and support to those that need it, whatever stage of life they may be.”   

Warwickshire County Councillor Margaret Bell, portfolio holder for Adult Social Care and Health said: “An important part of ensuring that people across Coventry and Warwickshire can live healthily and happily involves working with our partners to raise awareness of the local support available. I am delighted that this year’s Wellbeing for Life festival will help to do this by providing an opportunity for people to come along in person to find out about the ways they can improve their own and others’ health and wellbeing.  

“Often just knowing where to go when you need support can feel overwhelming. This unique event will bring lots of different services from across the area together in one place to showcase the breadth of support that is available. I would encourage everyone to come and have a browse to find out what is on offer in their local area. You might find something that will help you now or a few months down the line, or discover something that will help a friend, family member or neighbour.” 

Further support for anyone affected by mental health:  

Dear Life has been created by local health and social care professionals across Coventry and Warwickshire. This provides a range of support and signposting to vital services for people who don’t know where to turn for help to address complicated and negative thoughts and feelings.  

Young people across Coventry aged 11-25 years can access Kooth, a free and anonymous digital counselling and support service. The service has qualified counsellors and emotional wellbeing practitioners available for one-to-one instant text-based chats or bookable sessions, as well as moderated discussion forums and self-help content. 

For people who can’t access resources online, there is help available to you. Call the free NHS Mental Health Access Hubs on 08081 966 798 for mental health services in Coventry and Warwickshire, available 24/7 offering clinical triage and helping those in urgent need of care. Press 1 for adult mental health and Press 2 for the children and young people's mental health service.    

Anyone struggling to cope can call Samaritans for free at any time, from any phone on 116 123.   

The Five Ways to Wellbeing are easy steps to follow to improve mental health and build wellbeing and kindness into daily life to help people feel good and function well. They are connect, be active, keep learning, give and take notice.

If you have seriously harmed yourself, call 999 or ask someone to call 999 for you.  

Published: Thursday, 12th May 2022