Mental Health Awareness Week
The coronavirus pandemic is having a significant impact on mental health, with the United Nations warning it could cause a global mental health crisis. Even without the influence of COVID-19, many people struggle with their mental wellbeing and help for them and others will be required long into the future.
Around two thirds of the families we help each year are affected by mental health issues. Through our work, we know that a break away from home can have a hugely positive impact.
“Seeing that I could cope with new situations and have fun boosted my confidence. We had had a difficult year prior to the break and having this time away together felt like the start of a new chapter. Thank you ever so much.”
Mum from London
Our 2019 report ‘How was your summer’ surveyed family support professionals to find about some of the issues that affect families during the long summer break from school when there often isn’t the means to fill the time with days out or time away from home.
80% of respondents reported that mental health gets worse for parents over the summer with 64% believing that child mental health can also deteriorate when they aren’t at school.
“A majority of children face loneliness and isolation (during school holidays), particularly those enduring bullying or living in deprivation.”
A simple break away from home can provide respite from the stresses and strains of daily life and a new perspective on how to cope better when back home.
Our report published earlier this year, ‘The long term impact on a break for struggling families’, shows that the positive impact for families helped by the charity to take a break continues to be felt more than a year later.
- 83% of families who are impacted by mental health issues see a sustained improvement
- 84% of families are still less isolated and more able to engage in their communities
- 63% of professionals working with families say the break has improved the relationship with families they refer.
After a break, some families are more able to access support for their mental health issues, with others being better able to look to the future. Many reported that improved parental mental health impacted positively on their children who saw their parents being less anxious and stressed and able to do more with them.
“It means I am there for them more and we just get along better.”
Dad from Rotherham
Recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, with the psychological and social impacts likely to outlast the physical symptoms of the virus, will place activities which nurture and sustain positive mental health in a crucial role.
We believe that time away from home together will play an important part in our recovery. And the Family Holiday Association will continue to work hard to make that a possibility for everyone.
“My daughter especially has had an improvement in her mental health over the last year and feels more optimistic about her future.”
Mum from Fife
Mental Health Awareness Week is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation and takes place from 18-24 May 2020. The theme this year is kindness.
There is lots of practical advice available to help you take care of your mental health during the current crisis:
Mental Health Foundation – How to look after your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak
NHS Every Mind Matters – Looking after your mental health
Public Health England – Guidance for the public on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19)
Please remember to follow the current government advice and continue to observe social distancing.
As a charity whose mission relies on travel, COVID-19 will significantly affect the Family Holiday Association in 2020 – as it will many areas of our national life. Yet we know that we will be needed more than ever once things get back to normal. Your support now will help us be ready.
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