Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 – Your Kindness Stories

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, and in light of the difficult circumstances we have all been faced with this year, the theme was changed to ‘kindness’. 
 
We are running a mini-campaign around the theme. The idea is that everyone is welcome to submit examples of kindness, to be shown on this page. It can be acts of kindness you or loved ones have directly experienced since Coronavirus, things you’ve seen in the media/online, or otherwise.  
 
By collecting examples on this page, we can be reminded of the good things still happening in the world. If you’d like to get involved, please email marketing@stockportmind.org.uk and we will take a look at your submissions. Please see #YourKindnessStories below. 
 
Your Kindness Stories
 
Lucy Rita – Stockport Mind reached out to me. I was struggling with loneliness, isolation, to trust, to feel worthwhile, to feel I had something to hang on in there for. I felt so desperate and broken that I felt shame, that some one so young would want to rescue me [Social Work students on placement at Stockport Mind]. But they offered a service like no other – reached out to me and my painful isolation. When people isolate, it’s often because all they thought they had achieved turns out it was all for nothing, and your brick wall becomes stone. It takes a certain compassionate person to break that wall down and believe in that person once more, and give them a change with compassion and courage to be a somebody and not a nobody. So I would like to thank Social Work students at Stockport Mind, as if it was not for your service I would not feel as happy as I am today.
I love art and most things creative – photography, singing, dancing, music are good for the soul, and give motivation, love and kindness.
Stockport Mind offer many kind services that offer a gift of creativity and a good way to offer an act of kindness. Mental health Awareness Week 18-24 May – we need to celebrate mental health as being the creative emotional well-being of recovery.
 
Linda – A couple of weeks ago, it was my mum’s birthday and I took my son to Southern Cemetery with some flowers, as I always like to visit on birthdays etc. Whilst there, I knew my gran and granddad were buried in the old part of the cemetery, so we decided to have a look around with  some information I had.

After an hour we gave up searching, and I got a thought – I wonder if the office was open, and it was… I gave the lady on the phone all the details I had – dates of birth etc. – and she directed where we should be walking. Still no luck after another 30 minutes, I phoned the lady back, saying we are still looking. Her act of kindness was to send one of her colleagues to us and  show us where it was – at last we found it.

It was well worth the perseverance. It was a very hot day, it was a lovely interesting place built in 1874 i think. Whilst walking round looking, we found Sir Matt Busby’s grave. I know it may sound unusual but Southern  Cemetery has a lot of history. It was interesting and a good result to find my gran and grandad’s graves, who died a long time ago when I was young. 
 
Lisa – This morning I went for a walk. To my delight, a coffee place was open for takeaway. A young lady was there with her dog, who came right up to me. She looked at me and said ‘he wants to say Hello to you’. I don’t stroke dogs at the moment, but I tentatively stroked him with the back of my hand. I looked at her and said ‘Wow, I just realised he is the first living being I have physically touched in two months’ (anyone that knows me knows I am a hugger!) We both looked at each other. She told me her sister had just had a baby, and she couldn’t see her. And in the middle of the street, with the evocative smell of coffee, we both cried. It was the most tender and sad and beautiful moment. Crying releases cortisol from the tears which are the stress hormone. We can feel overwhelmed and helpless, but actually even the smallest act of kindness can make all the difference. In that moment there was a sense of shared humanity. Staying strong sometimes just means allowing ourselves to be vulnerable too.
 
Chris – My husband always helps me find things that I thought were lost.  He also helps me with the household chores.

We had difficulty getting gluten free bread as my husband has a coeliac condition.  A neighbour with the same condition gave us one of her loaves.

A friend at knitting club dropped her own work to help me with my baby cardigan –  a project I was struggling with.

One of our local SPA staff offered to pack my bag for me.

I met two neighbours in the local park when my ears were blocked.  They gave me some advice on using olive oil.

My friend told me of free supermarket delivery slots when I had given up looking. It felt like Christmas when I got the order.
 
Shirley, Chair of Stockport Mind – A poem, ‘Acts of Small Kindness’, to reflect on and celebrate Mental Health Awareness week.

The warmth and light of kindness
have been beacons in my life,
have helped me  climb Mount Sadness
and find sunlight between the clouds that part,
as I hear a kind word or see a ‘virtual’ outstretched hand
to hold and guide me during this time of darkness called Corona Virus.
C-19 has extinguished many lights.
But beams of kindness glow and hope is in my sight.

Outside our gate we’ve set up a book ‘shop’
And added leaflets about help from Stockport Mind.
Our once loved but now unneeded books attract the passers-by.
They are free but some people make a small donation.
The leaflets and books are the carriers of kindness.
The passers-by are now infected and add their books
as well as thanks and kind words about Stockport Mind.
The pile of books ebbs and flows but kindness only grows.

Shirley Williams May 2020

Poems by others, submitted by Shirley – 1:

“This poem is by Jackie Kay and urges us to ‘choose to be kind’. It was written in 2016 after she became aware of a 17-year-old young man, called Felix, who took his own life after a number of years of bullying online.”: 

Poems by others, submitted by Shirley – 2:

“Below is a poem from the 19th Century American poet, Emily Dickinson. The poem reminds me of the ‘starfish’ homily when someone says you are wasting your time trying to help people in general)”:

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

HollieAround Easter time, I saw a post shared on Facebook which told the story of 4-year-old Kelvin. He saved up his pocket money and used it, along with some public donations, to fill 6 bags full of Easter eggs for hardworking staff at the Royal Blackburn Hospital. This was a special story as the staff at the hospital worked incredibly hard to try and save Kelvin’s Dad’s life in December. Sadly, he lost his fight, but their amazing work will never be forgotten by Kelvin and his family. As well as this, Kelvin’s selfless act of kindness will stay with the staff forever.

Tina – Here’s a nice little story of kindness.  A friend of a friend who used to wave at me every day when she walked past my shop with her baby boy, hand delivers letters, cards and generally lovely items that her and her son have made. I’m doing very well in the lockdown but receiving these puts a smile on my face and makes my heart sing with gratitude. Thank you Adele, Tom and Mark Youde ❤ Here is a picture of some of them.

Catherine I’m feeling lots of kindness and support in the local community. In The Heatons, people are paying anonymously for cinema tickets for NHS workers to attend the Savoy, as a thank you to them and a way to support the local business – what a lovely act of kindness.

Our hearts were warmed by this story about Mabel, a 91-year-old Stockport resident, who has been supported to use the internet for the first time, to keep in touch with her daughter in Australia. 

Marcus – I wanted to give a shout-out to my Mum for her kindness. We have of course been unable to see grandparents recently, so she came up with the idea of us making bunting for their (her parents) wedding anniversary. We each took a word or two to draw/paint etc., and it all came together nicely – they loved it. She has also got them a digital photo frame so we can virtually upload photos of us all, that they can see in their living room (they don’t have internet access), to stay connected to us visually. We are also doing the bunting idea for the 90th birthday of my Nanna (on my Dad’s side), which will be put up in the care home she lives in next month, by the wonderful staff. The school my Mum works at have decided letters written by children (“To my new friend”) will be sent to residents at Nanna’s care home too, which I found very touching.

Our General Manager Collin fixed a karaoke machine and a mobility scooter light for some elderly neighbours, as well as dropping off some mental health information booklets, as they are supporting a loved one with a mental health diagnosis. 

So many services and organisations across Stockport have been pulling together and doing incredible, kind work to help people through these difficult times. Cheadle Mosque are one to mention – they have been assisting with food deliveries to people in need. 

The Funky Monkey Cafe in Davenport have been doing a coffee/chocolate drink run for staff on night duty at some wards in Stepping Hill. Hopefully we can all go to the cafe and support them again some time soon. 

CDM UK, a company based in Manchester, have been producing scrubs for NHS staff, as part of the national effort to overcome Coronavirus. 

To submit an act of kindness you’re aware of, please email marketing@stockportmind.org.uk with our submission.