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Tackling loneliness in Mental Health Awareness Week 

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Stroud District Council staff are tackling loneliness during Mental Health Awareness Week.

Staff took part in a variety of activities this week (9 – 15 May) as part of the Mental Health Foundation’s week of events aimed at helping people address loneliness with practical help.

“At Stroud District Council, we understand it’s key to address the subject among our staff as we want to promote wellbeing and prioritise their mental health,” said SDC Human Resources Manager Lucy Powell. “Our Wellbeing Ambassadors get together regularly and discuss ideas on how we can improve the wellbeing within the council.

SDC yoga | Tackling loneliness in Mental Health Awareness Week 

“The main outcome we wanted for this week was to ensure staff knew that they have support all around them and they can reach out if they’re struggling and want to speak to someone in confidence.”

The awareness week was established by the Mental Health Foundation 21 years ago and this week it’s using the hashtag #IveBeenThere to spread awareness on social media.

The ambassadors wanted to include activities that didn’t feel too daunting to attend and made sure there were some friendly faces waiting for them. This included a shared lunch and a ‘Coffee and Catch up’ with cake too! The Pulse in Dursley also hosted ‘Yoga in the Mill’ due to the many health benefits and the positive impact it can have – it was a great opportunity for staff to break up their day and take some time for themselves. A canal walk was also organised which was a chance to meet new staff and home-workers were invited to bring their four-legged friends along too.

All the activities were done during breaks.

“As we have seen as a result of the pandemic, mental health is an issue for all employers to consider, and I am proud that steps are being taken to help our staff stay well,” said Council Leader Doina Cornell.

There are lots of opportunities in the district that people can take part in that can help combat loneliness. These include Community Hubs, which are places that act as a central point of contact and support for their communities. The Hubs are connectors of people, communities, local groups and voluntary sector organisations and a place where people can find friendship, positive things to do, acquire new skills and share their expertise, and get help and advice on food, housing, finances, health and wellbeing.

In Stroud District, there are several Community Hubs already established and a great network of voluntary and statutory organisations working together alongside parish, town and district councils. For more information, see: https://www.stroud.gov.uk/community-health-and-wellbeing/community-hubs

There are also lots of volunteering opportunities, which is a great way to meet people too. Cotswold Canals Connected hold lots of volunteering opportunities, whether your interest is engineering, history, horticulture or wildlife, there’s a place for you on Stroud’s award-winning canal project. Find out more information here: https://www.cotswoldcanalsconnected.org/volunteering/

For help and advice: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week/loneliness-help-and-advice

Mental Health Foundation video: https://youtu.be/XCnJ8s69LlU

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