COVID-19 was the bombshell that is wreaking havoc on far too many lives. The collateral damage of lockdown has left people dealing with the growing stresses of bereavement, isolation, financial crisis, job insecurity and relationship breakdown. The Royal College of Psychiatrists warns that services could soon be overwhelmed by a “tsunami of mental illness” following in the wake of the pandemic’s mass destruction.
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, hosted by the Mental Health Foundation Fund
The theme is kindness and their website is bursting with bright ideas to grow your own and send it out there. In these unprecedented times of social distancing and isolation, kindness helps us feel connected. Kindness is a gesture we all recognise because it makes us feel moved, protected, held, seen, loved. In short it is the perfect antidote to feelings of fear, loneliness, vulnerability, anger and loss that have washed in on the tide of COVID-19. Kindness has the singular ability to unlock our shared humanity, it is the cornerstone of our mental health. Kindness matters, now more than ever.
Whether its clapping for our care workers on a Thursday evening, or raising millions for the NHS (thank you Captain Tom), kindness makes our world go round at a time when it’s easy to feel it has stopped turning. So in the spirit of kindness don’t forget to be kind to yourself. Poetry, like kindness, unites us, comforts us, inspires us and reminds us that we are all in this together: “we are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike” said Maya Angelou. So here’s a poem in celebration of all of you from a friend of Burnetts who wishes to remain anonymous:
Clap For Us
How can we fight the enemy
we cannot hear and cannot see?
How can we “keep calm and carry on”
when all our certainties are gone?
How can we sit and watch T.V.
when mounting death stats is all we see?
How can we sit and watch the death toll rise
and quell the tears in bleary eyes?
What if this nightmare never ends?
Forbidden to hug our life-long friends?
And oh God, when oh when, will we ever see
Our own beloved family?
Oh how we miss our daily pleasures,
The simple things that we need and treasure.
And yet, oh yes, the wonderful things we’ve seen
Such acts of selfless kindness there have been.
We rightly clap for every carer and make a well-deserved fuss
But perhaps the time has rightly come to give a rousing clap for us!