Thursday, 21 May 2020

14 Reasons to be Kind


Mental Health depiction



by Natalie Wilson


It's a tumultuous time for us all, and the time more than ever to focus on our mental health. A note to our apprentices, and to everyone else who is in need of a helping hand: it's Mental Health Awareness week, so we've collected a list of ideas to help you stay positive, optimistic, and healthy. 

The world finds itself in a time where the equilibrium has been knocked off balance, leaving an overwhelming lack of clarity for us all to manage. It’s not unheard of for questions to be left unanswered, decisions to be rapidly made, people to be coming and going. But there’s just something different about these things happening now.

Naturally, feelings of isolation, anxiety and loss are brewing in everyone. For those who have struggled with mental health, things have exacerbated; for those who don’t necessarily have a history, are now in a situation where they are being truly tested.

This time has, however, shone light on examples of exceptional generosity and the strength of community and coming together. As we embark on Mental Health Awareness week, we reflect this year’s theme, kindness, and how a small act of it can make a huge impact on your neighbour.

The Mental Health Foundation have provided an excellent list of tips for spreading kindness. We've collated the list below into 3 categories, hoping it becomes a mantra that helps you at this time.

Starting calling

A great phone call with a friend or a family member can be the highlight of someone's day. A catch-up, a bit of a laugh, and to hear stories outside your current four walls is exciting and bodes hope. 

When you have something as unexpected as a global pandemic happening, it's the perfect time for you to make the effort and get back in touch with people you have lost touch with; the feelings are mutual and welcomed. So now's the time more than ever before, to pick up the phone and call someone! 
  • Call a friend that you haven’t spoken to for a while
  • Reach out to call a friend, family member or neighbour who is experiencing loneliness or self-isolation
  • Contact someone you haven’t seen in a while and arrange a phone catch up
  • Arrange to watch a film at the same time as a friend and video call
  • Arrange to have a video lunch with a colleague
  • Lend your ear – call a colleague and ask how they’re finding the change in routine

Copious cups of tea 

There is nothing like the perfect cup of tea. Next time you make a cuppa, think about whether you'd like to share it with someone; whether they live with you or someone you'd like to video call. Everyone loves a cuppa!
  • Arrange to have a cup of tea and virtual catch up with someone you know
  • Make a cup of tea for someone you live with
  • Help with a household chore at home

#Social

Waking up to an adorable dog video or motivating human rights quote can change the whole outlook of your day. For some it comes naturally, but not everyone is social media savvy.

So for the next article, video, quote, joke you come across, take a minute to think of who would enjoy it like you do, who may it help, whose day might it brighten, and send it to them.
  • Send a motivational text to a friend who is struggling
  • Send someone you know a joke to cheer them up
  • Send someone you know a picture of a cute animal
  • Send an inspirational quote to a friend
  • Send an interesting article to a friend


A note to our Apprentices

This article was written with a particular focus on our Firebrand apprentices during this time. At Firebrand, we are focusing on providing resources and support to ensure everyone has someone they can contact if they need support. 

We are conscious that many of our apprentices are working from home, and we are reaching out to them to ensure they are considering their mental health at this time.

It is imperative that no one suffers in silence, and we encourage everyone to remember to get talking; whether a virtual cuppa, a text to someone you haven’t heard from in a while, or a small gesture – it can make a huge difference.

Firebrand Apprentices can find more support during Mental Health Week on their online support page within OneFile, with links to major support mechanisms. Further support can be sought from Firebrand directly if you wish to contact us on safeguarding@firebrandtraining.com.

During Mental Health Week it is useful to know support is there; many really useful tips advice and guidance at organisations such as The Mix on 0808 8084994 who also offer webchat facilities. 

If you have immediate concerns the crisis messenger text service provides free 24/7 crisis support across the UK for our 25 and under apprentices; text THEMIX to 85258. Other organisations such as MIND, and the Samaritans offer crisis support too.

If you have any concerns and are unable to speak to someone you know, our trained Mental Health First Aiders are here to be contacted, if in any doubt - reach out.   

So today – consider that act of kindness can you do to help another? And if in doubt – please reach out. 




Natalie Wilson is the Head of Employer Partnerships at Firebrand Apprenticeships. With over 16 years' experience of working within the apprenticeship and skills sector, she has led and managed many bespoke learning programmes. Passionate about ensuring people strategies, mental health awareness is of paramount of importance to her.