Lucy Alexander on the impact of kindness

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and the year's theme is kindness. Our ambassador, Lucy Alexander, who over the years has raised thousands of pounds to help support children’s mental health, shares her thoughts on the importance of kindness in life’s most challenging moments.

Lucy Alexander

At this time four years ago I was preparing for the funeral of my 17 year old son Felix. I was in a very dark place and really struggling to keep my head above water. Felix had spent many years struggling with bullying and had finally decided that he could not see a way to be happy. He took his own life on April 27th 2016. On that day my life changed forever.

Initially I really wanted to leave Worcester our hometown, as it was a place that Felix was never happy and to me it felt a very cruel place. In the days that followed our loss I was stunned by the love and kindness that came from our local community.

They were there quietly holding us up, leaving food and messages of support when we couldn’t talk and listening over endless cups of coffee when we needed to. Letters and cards poured in and our little family really felt the warmth of love around us like a warm blanket. 

This experience has made me acutely aware of the impact and importance of kindness. It is the everyday small acts of kindness that have the biggest impact. Telling someone that their perfume smells gorgeous, that their food was delicious, that their work was great and made a difference.

Our world is a very strange place at the moment and we are all feeling worried and unsettled and this is when we really see the true colours of the communities we are in. I am a nurse and whilst I have not been working on the ‘frontline’ myself I have been redeployed to help train those who are.

I am amazed by how selfless and stoic the NHS staff have been. They have worked long hours in really difficult conditions and have been there to hold the hands and comfort those who have lost their lives to this awful virus when their families couldn’t be with them and to encourage and care for those who have recovered.

There are so many acts of kindness happening in every community. Money being raised for charities by the young and old alike, flowers left on friend’s doorsteps, Rainbows in windows for key workers to smile at on the way to work, Chats on driveways and over fences, less text messages and more phone and video calls to check on family and friends.

Virtual quizzes, parties, hen nights, shopping for those shielding and delivering to their doorsteps. Gifts of chocolate and hand cream to NHS workers, smiles and thanks from those standing in queues to supermarket staff helping to feed us all safely. 

I hope that when this is over and we return to our normal lives that we can all remember just how much the acts of selflessness and kindness made us feel. How much that thank you and smile helped us stay positive on our way home from a long hard day. It makes us feel good when someone is kind to us but it also feels good to be kind to others in return.

Say thank you, tell those around you how much you care for and appreciate them, send that card or letter to let them know you are thinking of them. Have courage and be kind. 

Remember that if you are struggling with your mental health, there is always help available.  

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