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Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 | Martin's thoughts
23rd 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.


Martin Young, Head of Development at Richmond Villages shares his thoughts:


What does kindness mean to you?

Kindness to me means to treat everyone in a way that I would like to be treated. It shouldn’t matter who the person is, how they look or how they act. You never need a reason to be kind to others. Kindness will come naturally when you practise it.


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 baked a cake for my neighbour last weekend. He is in his 60’s and lives on his own so I just thought it would be a nice thing to do. We had a ‘socially distant’ catch up in the garden over tea and cake. Word of my baking ability is spreading!!

More generally, I think one of the most important things that I can do is really listen to people when they speak. When I ask someone “how are you?”… and I get a reply, I really make the effort to listen to what that person is saying and engage with them. I appreciate that people are busy but I always endeavour to do this. For me, taking that extra minute in the day to really see and hear someone makes a difference.


How do you try to be kind to yourself?

I love to exercise, and it’s something that I try and do every day. I like to workout at the end of the day because it helps me to wind down and switch off after the pressures of the day. It also helps me to think. I know I try (and more often fail) to make time for thinking and planning during the week, so I find that this is a really good time for me to get my thoughts straight in my head and get some distance and perspective. I’m not a big TV fan (although like everyone, there’s always that classic guilty pleasure to sit down and watch). I really like learning new things and in particular how I can develop myself, my knowledge and my experiences. Also, I love to travel. I’ve been lucky to live and work in over a dozen countries in the last 20 years – I spent 3 years living in India. When you have the opportunity to really get to know a people and culture on a deeper level over an extended period of time, your understanding of others really broadens.


What advice would you give others this MHAW?

Follow your passion. You must do what you truly love because that will bring you true happiness. The reward will follow because you absolutely deserve it. Possessions are just stuff and the older I get the less important ‘the next best thing’ is to me. At this time, I’m really aware of all the things that I can’t do right now and while I don’t know if I would ever go back to normal (whatever that was!!) I am more conscious than ever that our time here is precious and that we should live it to the fullest. I’m already planning the things that I’ll be doing…when I can.


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

  • My family and loved ones. Both my parents are only children, so I have no aunts, uncles or cousins. There are only 5 people in my family, therefore, I’m so grateful to have them.
  • My health and wellbeing…both physically and mentally. In a world full of suffering, I am truly lucky.
  • My ability to forgive. I truly believe that I don’t have an ego to bruise and I realise that most people don’t wake up in the morning with the intention of upsetting me…and I’ve learnt over time that if they do, I can ‘block’ them and move on. 

Kindness quote of the day:
"If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely." - Roald Dahl