To mark Mental Health Awareness Week and support the Mental Health Foundation's "I've been there" campaign to combat loneliness, various members of the university community have shared their thoughts on loneliness and times when they have felt alone.
Vice Chancellor, Professor Ken Sloan led the way on LinkedIn
This week is #mentalhealthawarenessweek where the focus this year is on #loneliness. It has made me consider when #ivebeenthere. People in leadership roles are not protected from or immune to loneliness.
It has encouraged me to reflect on some of the loneliest and most mentally challenging times I have faced. I do not share them for sympathy. Just for awareness that loneliness can be experienced by everyone.
Being in an MRI tube when you know that the outcome is that you have or do not have cancer. Sitting outside a room when you are preparing to tell your mum about your sexuality. Walking around a new international city when you first move there and are not sure you belong. When you do the same walk you have done for years with your dog but it is the first time after they have died. When you are doing a lockdown walk but can’t connect with others because of the rules. When you walk into a room full of people socialising, but you don’t know anyone and can’t quite get the words out to say hello. When you just don’t think you fit in.
I think about those working in #agriculture and #farming where the pressures are significant, the hours are long and hours spent alone are equally long. Or elderly friends who have energy and interests, but who may not be able to get out and socialise as much these days. I have never appreciated more how important it is to think about those we know who might be lonely and see what we all might do to break their silence.
The effects of #loneliness are real, can be destructive, but can be addressed. Friendship and empathy can be powerful remedies.
If you see someone who is walking alone, or someone from whom you have not heard in a while, it may not be through their choice. It could be that they just need someone to say hello, someone to smile, someone to #breakthesilence or just someone to #care.
Will you be the one to do that?
Being around others *can* make us lonely - because individual differences are brought into sharp focus. Such as when I was a teenager newly diagnosed with #rheumatoidarthritis. That's why #empathy and #community matter. #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek#Ivebeenthere pic.twitter.com/358p2dd54D— Jac Green (@JacRGreen) May 10, 2022
And Terry Pickthall added valuable thoughts:
Hear from Terry in this film from the Yellow Wellies Farm Safety Foundation.
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. The Mental Health Foundation seeks to tackle loneliness this year and we can all support the campaign.— Harper Adams Library (@HarperAdamsLibr) May 10, 2022
They've put lots of information on their website at https://t.co/NGqiEF5oHW
You can even talk to library staff - we're really nice!
And our Wellbeing Team, part of Harper Adams University student services, hosted a drop-in event today for anyone to talk about any issues or worries, or just to have some company.
Don't forget, our support services are available all year round, not only during awareness weeks!
Find out more