Tuesday, May 19, 2020

#KindnessMatters – Keeping in Touch

This week (18th - 24th May) is Mental Health Awareness Week 2020. This year’s theme is kindness, which is more important than ever at the moment. As the Mental Health Foundation say:

One thing that we have seen all over the world is that kindness is prevailing in uncertain times. We have learnt that amid the fear, there is also community, support and hope.

The added benefit of helping others is that it is good for our own mental health and wellbeing. It can help reduce stress and improve emotional wellbeing.


Kindness doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Often it starts small – right now, keeping in touch with your friends and family could be the best way to begin. We’ve found some inspiration from the collections for staying connected and communicating.

Why not start at home? It could be as simple as making tea or coffee for your household and taking time to stop and have a chat around the kitchen table or in the garden. 

The Holmes family enjoying tea at Priory House, Pontefract

So put the kettle on and get out the best china. 
You could even video call a friend or relative to catch up over a cuppa virtually and compare your favourite mugs!

Coffee and tea pots made by Clokie & Co Ltd, Castleford and hand decorated by Vera Ward and Ida Woodward at pottery painting classes, 1920s- 1940s 

Coffee and tea cups by Clokie & Co Ltd, Castleford, 1930s

Many of us are also reaching out to those outside our households, who we can’t see at the moment - whether it’s an email or message, a phone call, or a video chat. You might share an interesting article with someone, send a joke, share a TV or a book recommendation, or simply say hello.

Rotary dial telephone handset with wall attachment, 1960s-1970s
Apple Macintosh Classic desktop computer, keyboard and mouse, 1980s

Nokia 8110 mobile phone, 1996

Modern technology has been a lifeline for many of us recently, helping us to keep in touch, but sometimes there’s nothing better than a surprise via snail mail! You could polish up your penmanship and pop a message in the post.

Glass inkwells with Bakelite lids
Dip pen with carved bone handle

Propelling pencil with perpetual calendar

Smith Corona typewriter, 1920s

Silver handled ivory letter opener, 1903

Cross written letter, 1833

Embroidered card

How are you keeping in touch with your loved ones? Has someone reached out to you and made your day? The Mental Health Foundation wants to get the nation talking about acts of kindness. Share your experiences with us in the comments or on social media using the #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, #KindnessMatters and #WakeyKindness tags.

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