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Three quarters of Welsh adults say it’s important we learn from Coronavirus pandemic to be more kind as a society

THREE-QUARTERS of Welsh adults (75 per cent) say it is important that we learn from the coronavirus pandemic to be more kind as a society, according to a new survey. The survey was published by the Mental Health Foundation to mark the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, which this year has the theme of Kindness.

Over two-thirds of people (69 per cent) living in Wales say that when others are kind to them it has a positive impact on their mental health according to the survey of 4256 UK adults aged 18 and above. Almost two-thirds of Welsh adults (65 per cent) also say that being kind to others has a positive impact on their mental health.

The charity has launched a report showing the evidence-base for the impact of kindness on mental health and a policy paper making recommendations on how kindness can be turned
into action.

Jenny Burns, Head of Wales at the Mental Health Foundation said: “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 survey also found that almost half of Welsh adults (45 per cent) said being kind “to myself” had a positive impact on their mental health.

The charity is making a series of recommendations on kindness. They include recommending that all Government departments apply a measurable, values-based kindness test to current and new policies. This is to ensure they are informed by kindness,
equality, dignity and respect.

Jenny Burns added: “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.

“Kindness has a role to play in how we run our welfare services, our justice system and our health system. To achieve this, we need to include a fundamental test for all existing and new policies – are they kind?

“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. The week runs from 18th to 24th May and is now in its 20th year.

Mental Health Awareness Week is marked in different ways by organisations and individuals. Welsh organisations are embracing this year’s theme of kindness in creative ways. One example of this is Cardiff City Football Foundation, Cardiff City FC’s official
charity. Through its youth outreach programme it is encouraging young children to write to their older relatives as an act of kindness.

This year the Foundation is asking people to share their stories of kindness during the Week on social media and also their ideas for how we can build a kinder society, using #KindnessMatters and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.

For more information visit mentalhealth.org.uk/mhaw

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