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Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 | Jenny's thoughts
21st May 2020

Mental Health can affect anyone, any day of the year. Now more than ever, it’s so important to be kind to one another. The theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 is kindness, so we’ve asked our leadership team what kindness means to them and their experiences of kindness.


Jenny Kirkland, Head of Care and Quality at Richmond Villages shares her thoughts:


What does kindness mean to you?

For me, kindness is about being considerate and helpful to anyone without expecting anything in return. It includes being kind to yourself.


When was the last time you gave or experienced kindness? Or what acts of kindness have struck you, either during COVID or ‘normal’ life?

I am lucky to experience small acts of kindness regularly. It can be the smile from the person on the other side of the street whilst out walking, or the shop assistant who found the little pot of moisturiser my mum had on their shopping list that I couldn’t find. It is also the Search and Rescue volunteers I am grateful to call friends and colleagues who put in so many hours, before and after work often all night, to help search for vulnerable people who have gone missing.


How do you try to be kind to yourself?

Give myself permission to own the emotions that I have and respond to them. Give myself time to do something I enjoy something (all be it small) every day. Go for a walk, listen to music, read a book or magazine, have a bath or watch a cheesy TV program (I love NCIS).


What advice would you give others this MHAW?

Be kind to yourself, ask for and accept help by doing so you may be helping others without even realising it.

In Search and Rescue, we have a mantra to maintaining safety, and it is a priority order,: look after ‘Yourself, Your team, Others’. It is really useful to remember that in order to give your best to others, you need to look after yourself.

Please smile – it is the most contagious thing and really has a positive impact on both yourself and the person receiving the smile!


What’s something you feel grateful for – either at home or work?

I am so grateful to have family and friends who are always there for me, checking in and catching up. The willingness of the RV team to support in any way they can. The Florence Nightingale Leadership Scholarship that Bupa gave me the opportunity to participate in has provided me with a fantastic network of nurses around the country who over the past 13 months have been a joy to learn from and have given me immense support especially over the past few months. And I am really grateful that I have the life I have.


Every day this week we will be sharing a blog post dedicated to Mental Health Awareness Week. Tomorrow, Philippa Fieldhouse, Managing Director at Richmond Villages, shares her thoughts on kindness.

Kindness quote of the day:
"If speaking kindly to plants makes them grow, imagine what speaking kindly to humans can do."