Today is the first day of Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24 May) this year's theme focuses on the power and potential of kindness. It's been organised by the Mental Health Foundation who think it could be the most important week they’ve hosted, not least because their own research shows that protecting our mental health is going to be central to us coping with and recovering from the coronavirus pandemic - with the psychological and social impacts likely to outlast the physical symptoms of the virus.
They have chosen kindness because of its singular ability to unlock our shared humanity. Kindness strengthens relationships, develops community and deepens solidarity. It is a cornerstone of our individual and collective mental health. Wisdom from every culture across history recognises that kindness is something that all human beings need to experience and practise to be fully alive.
The foundation also want to shine a light on the ways that kindness is already flowering at this time. We have seen it in the dancing eyes of 100-year-old Captain Tom Moore as he walked his garden to raise money for the NHS and in the mutual aid groups responding to local needs. Why shouldn't this kindness spread further in every community in the UK?
It's a great opportunity to explore the sort of society we would like to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.