Topics for this month:
This week is ‘Mental Health Awareness Week’:18th – 24th May 2020
Mental Health Awareness Week aims to get people talking about their mental healthand reduce the stigma that can stop people from asking for help and reaching out. Approximately one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.
Theme of awareness week is ‘Kindness’
One thing that we have seen all over the world is that kindness is prevailing in uncertain times. We have learnt that amid the fear, there is also community, support and hope.
The added benefit of helping others is that it is good for our own health and wellbeing. It can help reduce stress and improve your emotional wellbeing. Research has proven this is true whether you are giving or receiving the acts of kindness.
‘Kindness’ unlocks our shared humanity and is central for our mental health. It has the potential to bring people together, with benefits for everyone, particularly at times of great stress.
Kindness could transform schools, places of work, communities and families. To help shape a society that tips the balance in favour of good mental health, for all of us, but especially for those who are most vulnerable.
10 random acts of kindness:
- Hold the door open for others
- Give an honest compliment
- Thank someone who you appreciate
- Be a good listener
- Offer your help to someone
- Ask another person how their day is going
- Ask another person how they are
- Treat someone to a coffee or tea
- Give something and not expect anything in return
What can you do for mental health awareness week!
There are a range of events, resources and fun challenges on the Mental Health Foundation website, which include social media graphics, posters and support packs on what you can do to get involved and take action. You can also join on line, the Foundation campaign is to encourage the nation talking about kindness and mental health.
Five warning signs of mental illness
- long-lasting sadness or irritability
- extremely high and low moods
- excessive fear, worry, or anxiety
- social withdrawal
- dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits
Types of mental illness
- mood disorders (such as depression or bipolar disorder)
- anxiety disorders
- personality disorders
- psychotic disorders (such as schizophrenia)
- eating disorders
- trauma-related disorders (such as post-traumatic stress disorder)
For more information on the mental health awareness week you can visit: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week
Mental health guidance and resources
Mind Charity: Coronavirus and your wellbeing: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/
NHS: Mental wellbeing while staying at home: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-at-home-tips/
The safeguarding team watched a webinar by the Education Child Protection in relation to mental health and building resilience. A very thought provoking video was shared which focuses on ‘social media vs reality’ to show the effects social media can have on our mental health.
The video can be found here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EFHbruKEmw and we encourage you to share it with friends, family, learners and employers.
We have created a poster containing the information from the webinar and attached it to this bulletin – please ensure that you share it to raise awareness of mental health and support available.
Top tips for learning/working from home
Learning from home is a new experience for most of us. In addition you may find that you are working from home rather than attending your workplace. Here are 5 top tips;
TIME – Decide and then allocate the best time of the day for you to learn. You might have to book this time with the rest of your family. If you are working from home, make sure you take regular breaks. It is easy to forget the time so make sure you keep to a schedule and switch off when you should do.
SPACE– Decide where the best place in your house is for you to learn/work from. Again, you might have to negotiate with others for that space. Where possible a room with natural light can be beneficial.
EQUIPMENT – A comfortable seat, the right headphones and the right lighting – all make learning/working from home better.
REGULAR BREAKS – Make sure you move away from your workstation regularly, maybe every 20 – 30 minutes. If you have a garden, take a walk outside and make sure you drink plenty of water.
MAKE THE MOST OF LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES – Take advantage of any groups or webinars and use them to the full. It’s a great time to learn a new hobby or develop new skills. Try cooking or baking, a new dance, a new language, and reading more often – whatever you are interested in.
Tackling fake news during the pandemic
This is a confusing time for us all, and sometimes it can be challenging to know what to believe. Research published by Ofcom shows half of all UK adults exposed to fake news regarding Coronavirus in the first week of April.
Young people are spending much more time online and are likely to be exposed to much more fake news than usual. Young people need careful guidance on how to identify fake news and misinformation online.
COVID-19 has changed our everyday lives, in a way previously thought imaginable. The impact of the pandemic has also seen the spread of fake news and misinformation. A report published by the EU this month accused Russia and China and other nation-states of targeting European citizens with fake news regarding the pandemic. There are also concerns that self-proclaimed ‘experts’ are offering false medical information for cures.
Facebook has been facing international criticism after a report found that the company was not doing enough to stop the spread of fake news during the pandemic. Experts have called this a ‘perfect storm’ of online disinformation.
Here are some of the most common fake news stories in circulation:
- 5G telecommunication masts are causing Coronavirus
- Coronavirus is a biological weapon created by either Russia, the USA, China or the UK depending on who is peddling the story
- Migrants have contributed to the spread of Coronavirus
- Chain messages from doctors sharing immunity tips not backed by science
The government has set up a rapid response unit which is dealing with around 10 incidents every day. They have also re-launched the ‘Don’t Feed the Beast’ campaign which urges people to carefully consider things that they share or post online. A ‘SHARE checklist’ has been produced, giving things to consider before sharing on information and which can be seen here: https://sharechecklist.gov.uk/
The fact-checking website Full Fact is a great place to see the latest COVID-19 ‘bad information’ and fake news stories that are currently doing the rounds (https://fullfact.org/health/coronavirus/)
The INEQE Safeguarding Group have produced some further advice on the matters covered here at https://ineqe.com/2020/05/04/fake-news/
Digital safety during COVID-19
The Department for Education’s North West Regional Prevent Co-ordinator, Nigel Lund, has prepared a very useful summary of advice on safeguarding from harm online in the context of what we are all experiencing at the moment. The guidance can be used by training providers in both their professional and home lives.
The advice covers how to spot signs of online exploitation, steps to improve digital safety and guidance on what to do if you feel someone is being affected by the concerns mentioned. A lot of safeguarding organisations are producing some great advice on digital safety at present, but the safeguarding team feel that Nigel’s information sheet attached, is an excellent analysis of the current concerns being faced.
Learning about online safety at home (ThinkUKnow)
ThinkUKnow have created a page to support parents and young people online. The site includes home activity packs with simple 15 minute activities support children’s understanding of online safety at a time. These can be used to complement work provided by schools for home learning and are provided for primary and secondary school age groups.
There is also parent support information for primary and secondary age groups.
The resources and more information can be found here: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/Support-tools/home-activity-worksheets