Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) is an annual event hosted by the Mental Health Foundation. Taking place this year between 9-15 May 2022, the theme of the week is ‘loneliness’. The week offers scope to explore the impact of loneliness and the role our communities and connections with others can play in tackling the epidemic of loneliness.
Below you can find out more about Thrive LDN’s activities for the week
Virtual panel discussion – Loneliness in the context of the cost of living crisis in London
Watch back via YouTube above
Thursday 12th May, 11.00am – 12.00pm
For Mental Health Awareness week, the Greater London Authority (GLA), in partnership with Thrive LDN, hosted an event to explore loneliness in the context of the cost of living crisis in London
The GLA’s recent Reconceptualising Loneliness in London report found more than 700,000 Londoners experienced severe loneliness prior to the pandemic, and Londoners are more likely than people in other parts of Britain to be affected by it.
The report identified five associative factors driving these levels of severe loneliness in London, one of which is financial hardship, and highlights that loneliness is a symptom of the wider structural inequalities that exist in our society.
This event explores the link between financial hardship and loneliness and how actors in London can help reduce and prevent rises in severe loneliness and negative impacts on mental health and wellbeing as many Londoners face a cost of living crisis.
Ella-Mae Michalski, Little Village
Ella-Mae is an Ambassador for the charity Little Village. Little Village is like a food bank, but for clothes, toys and equipment for babies and children up to the age of 5, it provides a supportive community for the families, building connections, local networks and facilitating support between parents. Ella-Mae received support from Little Village when she had to abruptly stop work due to a high-risk pregnancy. Ella-Mae went on to receive a Community Leadership Grant to set up her own baby bank, Little Peas Baby Bank, to support local residents and alleviate feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Muna Yassin MBE, Fair Money Advice
Muna Yassin is the Managing Director of Fair Money Advice. Fair Money Advice is a London-based specialist debt advice charity providing bespoke on-to-one support for London’s Diverse Ethnic Communities helping them manage financial distress, multiple debts, and work towards financial wellbeing and resilience. Muna is also a Trustee at Toynbee Hall – a pioneering charity based in the East End.
Abi Gilbert, Tower Hamlets
Abi Gilbert leads the Healthy Communities team within Public Health Division at Tower Hamlets Council. Abi is the lead officer for the Loneliness Taskforce for the Borough, delivering the Mayor’s manifesto commitment to tackle loneliness. Abi has led the Healthy Communities team for 5 years which aims to improve health through coproduction and system change at the locality level.
Harry Hobson, Neighbourly Lab (Chair)
Harry Hobson is Founder and Director of the Neighbourly Lab. The Neighbourly Lab’s mission is to figure out “what works” to shape strong neighbourhoods and communities. They aim to do this by collecting data and generating research in this space. Harry co-authored the Reconceptualising Loneliness in London report.
Loneliness and Mental Health Awareness Week, by Matt McGuinness and the MLC
Matt’s performed as a musician for over 30 years, releasing music consistently. His band, Matt McGuinness & the MLC, is the latest iteration of a passion for music that’s lasted a lifetime.
A few years ago, Matt inadvertently began to write, record, and perform material based on his own mental health challenges, such as anxiety, panic attacks, lack of self-belief, parenting and more. The subject matter seemed to immediately resonate with audiences, forming the seeds of the project ‘We Are What We Overcome.’ This now involves a monthly podcast, a live theatre show, an album of the music and a book, both out January 2023.
Fee Fi Ho Hum is the first song from the album and centres around perceptions, about how you are seen one way but feel another. It particularly feels relevant to this year’s Mental Health Awareness focus on loneliness. As with many things around mental health, we can appear to be comfortable with our personal circumstance, whereas the reality is somewhat different.
View Matt’s introduction for Mental Health Awareness Week below, and the watch the lyric video for Fee Fi Ho Hum on YouTube.