As many of you may be aware, Monday 16 May marked the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, a national campaign aimed at generating discussion. Help for Heroes recognises that injuries go beyond those that are physical and offers support for these hidden wounds, and was therefore very proud to have been part of this worthwhile cause.
Now that it has drawn to a close, it’s time to reflect back on the week’s activities to showcase what things the charity has been up to, and highlight the excellent services available to those in need.
On Monday we saw the launch of Heads Together, a new anti-stigma campaign headed by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. Alongside Their Royal Highnesses, the campaign brought together eight different charities into a unique partnership dedicated to raising awareness, ending the stigma surrounding mental health and providing support for those affected by this issue.
One of those dedicated groups is Contact, a conglomeration of leading military charities – including H4H – and state organisations seeking to ensure that those who have served in the British Armed Forces and their families get the best available mental health support.
The big event, which featured two H4H beneficiaries, was held at The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and was an overwhelming success, offering each of the organisations involved the opportunity to showcase some of the amazing work that they do.
You can read more about Contact and Heads Together here.
That same day, H4H published the first in a series of blog articles centred around mental health, written by their Psychological Wellbeing Team. A fitting subject following on from the Invictus Games, the series kicked off with an interesting post discussing the benefits of sport and physical exercise in the treatment of, and recovery from, mental health issues.
"Sport improves all life!" Ian - H4H Supporter
Tuesday saw the release of a fantastic video detailing Help for Heroes Hidden Wounds, a free service offering support to Servicemen and women, Ex-Service Personnel and their families, who are suffering a range of issues, from anxiety and depression to anger and excessive drinking.
"I think Hidden Wounds is such a great thing for people and it must help so many people. Well done to the people that run it, keep up the great work." Maureen - H4H Supporter
There was also an article in the Liverpool Echo about H4H beneficiary Alan Izzard, who plays golf and visits Phoenix House Recovery Centre to ease his PTSD symptoms.
“Going to Phoenix House is so beneficial. I had a preconception that it would be all focused on physical needs but it’s not – it’s about the well-being of everyone,” says Alan
The following day, Hidden Wounds joined forces with the British Transport Police and a number of other charities, including Samaritans and Mind, to show their support for sufferers of poor mental health and further promote awareness of our Hidden Wounds service. Alongside setting up stalls at London Victoria and Waterloo, the group organised a walk between the two stations, which some of our lovely volunteers and H4H beneficiary Harry Jones took part in.
Wednesday’s blog covered the subject of depression, explaining some of the common symptoms and how they affect each other. The article discusses how reaching out for support can help end the vicious cycle of negative thoughts, behaviours and physical effects.
We also continued to promote our brand new imagery: ‘There’s always more than meets the eye’, featuring photography by Roger Keller.
Next up was an informative post on self-esteem and confidence, helping to distinguish between the two and offering helpful advice on how to boost them in those who are suffering low levels of either.
"Great charity to support and very good advice." Jeanette - H4H Supporter
Friday’s subject was anxiety, our body’s response to threat which allows us to quickly react to potentially dangerous situations. It’s also commonly accompanied by a range of unpleasant symptoms, which the blog helps you to identify and understand while also pointing you in the direction of management techniques.
"Fantastic campaign piece. Well done. Let's keep this going!" Gary - H4H Supporter
Last, but certainly not least, it was time to lay the week to rest, and what better way with an article on sleep, or lack thereof – insomnia, and how you can beat it and catch up on those much-needed Z’s using sleep hygiene techniques.
"Thanks. I'm not a veteran or such but this article contains good advice." Ian - H4H Supporter