Kindness has a positive impact on mental health

Mental Health

Results from a new survey by the Mental Health Foundation show that two thirds of adults believe being kind to others has a positive impact on their mental health

As Mental Health Awareness Week begins, new research from the Mental Health Foundation reveals that the concept of kindness is linked to positive mental health, in the public’s eyes. What’s more, the idea of societal kindness is top of the list when it comes to what we need to learn from lockdown.

The theme of kindness has been chosen for Mental Health Awareness Week 2020. The Mental Health Foundation’s survey of 4,256 UK adults aged 18 and above, sought to understand the role kindness can play on a personal, community and policy making level.

According to the survey results, two-thirds of respondents said that when others are kind to them, it has a positive impact on their mental health. Being kind to others was cited by two-thirds of those surveyed as having a positive impact on their mental health. Just under half of respondents noted that being kind to themselves was beneficial.

Moving to a community view on kindness, almost three quarters (72%) of those surveyed said they believe it’s important that we learn from the coronavirus pandemic to be more kind as a society from here on in.

Kindness can play an essential role in reducing the social, economic and mental health consequences of the crisis that could last for years to come

Mental Health Foundation’s Chief Executive Mark Rowland echoed the crucial role that kindness has to play moving forward. “The evidence for the positive impact of kindness on protecting and improving mental health has always been clear. Our own survey has shown there is powerful support from the UK public for a kinder approach.

“At one level, kindness can be as simple as phoning a friend who is lonely or thanking a colleague for something they have done. However, to have a major impact on improving our mental health, we need to take kindness seriously as a society. In particular, we need to make kindness an important part of public policy.

“The pandemic is an opportunity to do that. Kindness can play an essential role in reducing the social, economic and mental health consequences of the crisis that could last for years to come.”

The role of kindness in policy making

The Mental Health Foundation are currently making a series of recommendations around kindness, including a proposal for all Government departments to apply a measurable, values-based kindness test to current and new policies, to ensure they are informed by kindness, equality, dignity and respect.

“We need to challenge the idea that kindness has no relevance to government and public policy. Instead, we want to start taking kindness seriously in how we shape political decision-making at all levels,” Mark Rowland shared

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to re-imagine a kinder society – one that protects all our mental health and especially that of the most vulnerable.”

The Mental Health Foundation organises and hosts Mental Health Awareness Week every year. For 2020, the week runs from 18th to 24th May and is now in its 20th year.

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