Patient’s Perspective - Mental Health Awareness Week

  • Chronic Pain

  • Mental Health


Shona Louise | Patient Inclusion Advisor at Leva Clinic

First Published 5/11/2022

Last Updated 4/18/2023

This week marks the annual mental health awareness week in the UK, a chance to spark up conversations and normalise mental health problems. This year the focus is on loneliness, with both mental health conditions and loneliness being something that those living with chronic conditions and disabilities often deal with.

Loneliness can affect anyone, even those who look like they are surrounded by many people. Often people can be in a crowded room and still feel incredibly lonely. So, what can we do to combat this? For starters, reaching out for help with your mental health is an incredibly important step. It’s not easy to ask for help, but just opening up and talking to another person about your struggles can alleviate a lot of stress and anxiety. There is mental health support out there spread across charities, the NHS and private support, and there’s lots of different options too. Medication and therapy can be excellent tools in supporting your mental health.

When it comes to loneliness though, there are definitely smaller things we can do in our everyday lives to help make people feel less lonely. Checking in with a friend, having a coffee date or organising a video call can help to make people feel seen. Simply asking the question ‘are you okay?’ can give people the opportunity to talk and vent. It can be hard to ask for help, so looking out for the people we love is so important, don’t wait for people to come to you.

There are also things you can do to help strangers with loneliness, whether that’s striking up a conversation on the bus or sharing a table in a coffee shop. Small actions can have a big impact.

If you’re struggling with loneliness related to your chronic pain, illness or disability, then supportive communities of people dealing with the same things can be really helpful. Often it can feel like you’re the only person in the world dealing with these problems, but in reality there are so many people out there living through the same experiences. Sometimes just knowing you’re not alone can help.

Use this week as a chance to check in with your loved ones and strike up conversations about mental health. The more we talk about it, the more normalised it becomes and the shame people feel around the topic will begin to disappear.

If you would like to get in touch with Shona you can follow her on twitterinstagram or drop her a message via her website.

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