Mental Health Awareness Week
10 May 2021
Revd Tim Carroll
Today marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Week and Wakefield Cathedral are proud to be joining in with the Wakefield based Positive Mental Health Forum initiative ‘Postcards from Wakefield’. You will find the postcards scattered across the city in locations including libraries, public buildings and of course, here in the cathedral too. These cards encourage us to write supportive messages, create something or do activities in nature that raise awareness about mental health. You can find more details here
It is important to be aware of our own mental health and that of others around us. Coming from Northern Ireland there is a legacy not just of violence but of the mental health burdens that victims of violence face, also witnesses of violence and the ripple effect this can have into local communities. It is so important to be aware of the external factors that affect our mental health and not turn inwards and blame ourselves and others.
Mental health is at times called ‘The Great Leveler’ and from my experience of working with young people from different social backgrounds, I have seen this to be true on many occasions. What we should also be aware of are the factors such as race, economic class, gender, age, and disability which affect our likelihood of struggling with poor mental health. These factors combine in complex ways that put people at greater risk, and also play a role in affecting how certain groups are able to access treatment. Those most effected by loss of income during the last years lockdown have reportedly had much higher levels of anxiety and stress. Young people from working class families have been less likely to be able to access online lessons and materials, which leads to feelings of stress that they are being left behind. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has said that the inequalities highlighted during the pandemic “will have significant consequences for people’s health outcomes in the short and longer term.’ As the vaccination programme continues to be rolled out across the country, it is important to remain wary of the impact to people’s mental health which the past year has had.
Postcards from Wakefield gives us an opportunity to show solidarity with each other at this difficult time. So please pick one up and let’s join with others in Wakefield in raising awareness about mental health.
For further information on accessing mental health support please click here.