News Tackling loneliness in Mental Health Awareness Week At the start of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, we are launching our new campaign ‘Help us to end loneliness with messages of kindness’. Two years ago we began including hand written messages in our gift bags from our volunteers who had packed them. We are now inviting people to write their own message of kindness and make a difference to an older person who is feeling lonely and isolated. These messages will then be included in our gift bags which will be distributed this winter. Lynne Misner, CEO of Small Acts of Kindness, explains “Our experience shows that small things can make a big difference and last year we received tremendously positive feedback from the personal messages included in our bags. Much of what we do aims to combat the mental side-effects of loneliness, especially for those living alone, who are more likely to experience a negative impact on their mental wellbeing.” Lynne added: “Mental Health Awareness Week gives loneliness the attention that it deserves and highlights one of our core values, as we connect communities with kindness.” Surveys by Age UK found that half a million older people go at least five or six days each week without seeing or speaking to anyone and two fifths of all older people (about 3.9 million) say the television is their main company. Loneliness contributes to higher levels of distress, resulting from people’s sense of isolation and reduced ability to connect with others. Older people often say they feel forgotten and ignored, with little social contact. Connecting people with their community and increasing opportunities for social contact is fundamental to our activities as we aim to tackle the epidemic of loneliness, which often accompanies the problems of keeping warm in winter. You can add your message of kindness by clicking here.