Mental Health Awareness Week - Tackling Loneliness Together

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Mental Health Awareness Week - Tackling Loneliness Together


On Blue Monday, we shared our top tips on how you can help beat the blues by making small changes to your daily routine. This time however it's Mental Health Awareness Week - and for 2022 the theme is loneliness.

Loneliness and depression often go hand-in-hand, and they can fuel each other's fire. As a society we are only just over the stifling COVID lockdowns that kept even the most social of us cooped up inside. For many of us this will have made us feel lonely at times, however for those who already felt this way, the isolation has felt inescapable, and has no doubt exacerbated the feelings of anxiety and depression that can follow as a result.

When at extremes, loneliness can make us feel entirely alone, even in the middle of a crowd. To make things worse, it's all too easy to assume someone is fine, when in reality they are hiding their true feelings behind a painted smile.

We've taken care to make sure our EDGE teams know they have options should they ever need counselling, or just a confidential chat when times are tough. That's why our specially trained Mental Health First Aiders are always on hand to offer their support. Meet the team below, explore some ways to beat the blues, or check out the 'Action for Happiness' Meaningful May calendar for ideas to help us tackle loneliness together.

Self-Care Tips to Beat the Blues

It’s easy to let things slip when we feel stress and pressure, our busy modern lifestyles don’t always leave much room for looking inward and remembering to take care of ourselves. Everybody is dealing with different circumstances in their lives, but practicing self-care is a great way to keep the blues at bay.

Take 15 Minutes, Every Day, for Yourself

Hit pause and take some “me” time. It doesn’t matter what you do with it, just make sure it’s all about you! Grab a cuppa, read a few more pages of that book, catch up on the latest news and goss – Do anything that puts a smile on your face and gets you away from the rat-race, these moments are all yours.

Get Outside!

Fresh air really can work wonders. You don’t need to grab your gear and scale a mountain – even nipping to the shop on your lunch break is a start! Stroll around the block, take a detour through the park, it really doesn’t matter how or why. You could be surprised how much it can help to break up your day and clear your head.

Make Small, Healthy Dietary Changes

It’s not easy to eat healthy when the quickest and most convenient foods are often the worst for us. Planning ahead a little more to incorporate some healthier options into our diets can make a big difference to how we feel each day. If you are what you eat - eat happy!

Make Sleep a Priority

We don’t just mean a nap – high-quality, deep sleep is vital for us all to keep functioning properly and thinking clearly. Whenever we can, we should all make sure we are getting enough of it, even if that means having an earlier bedtime! Keeping well rested means you’ll be waking up on the wrong side of the bed a lot less.

Try Positive Reflection

This could be meditation or just taking some time to think back over the positives in your life. What have you achieved this week? What’s been making you feel good? Spare a thought for the goodness in your life and the doom and gloom might not seem so bad.

EDGE Mental Health First-Aiders

Edge takes mental health seriously; it forms a major part of our commitment to Employee Wellbeing and Opportunity – one of the 5 core ‘Es’ of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy. As such we have invested in specialised training for members of staff who have championed the culture we foster as a business, by volunteering to become mental health first-aiders.

These valued team members must complete a detailed course which provides them with the skills and tools they need to support their fellow EDGE staff members and indeed anyone in their lives who may be struggling with their mental health. Offering counselling whenever requested but also keeping an eye out for those that may be struggling in silence, so as to always ensure our team has the support it needs to remain healthy and happy.

The course is available online; you can even become a mental health first-aider yourself at home by visiting their website here. It covers many facets of care, but ultimately provides our volunteers with:

  • An in-depth understanding of mental health and the factors that can affect well-being
  • Practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of mental health issues
  • Confidence to step in, reassure and support a person in distress
  • Enhanced interpersonal skills such as non-judgemental listening
  • Knowledge to help someone recover their health by guiding them to further support - whether that’s self-help resources, through their employer, the NHS, or a mix

Smoking, Vaping and Mental Health

It is broadly understood that the act of smoking, vaping or indeed any form of nicotine consumption can have an impact on a person’s mental health – most people are aware of it’s addictive properties at the very least.

While it is the other chemicals in cigarette smoke that are more directly linked to several physical health concerns, the nicotine is the substance that drives our cravings and keeps us coming back for more. Even vapes, which are reported by Public Health England to be 95% less harmful than cigarettes in terms of the toxins they deliver to the body, still deliver nicotine.

Beyond addiction nicotine has been the subject of many studies exploring it’s interactions with the human body not just physically, but mentally – with profound results in some cases. If Blue Monday has got you thinking about your mental health, and you’re curious about how nicotine affects us, you can learn everything you need to know in our comprehensive Best Practice Guide: Nicotine and Health.