While through much of 2021 we all had to deal with more pandemic lockdowns, our work and focus on prevention in mental health was needed more than ever.
Despite these restrictions, we continued to commission new research, develop new community programmes and made sure that mental health remained a UK-wide priority through our policy and public awareness work.
Find out more about our key objectives and achievements in 2021-22 and download the full report below.
- Tell the world
- Spotlight on... Our Personal Experience Network (OPEN)
- Find solutions
- Spotlight on... Blue Prescribing
- Inform and empower
- Spotlight on... pandemic resources
- Change policy and practice
- Spotlight on... Mental Health Awareness Week
- Mental Health Awareness Week 2021
- Spotlight on... our supporters
Tell the world
Why prevention is fundamental to effectively dealing with the ongoing mental health crisis
Spotlight on... Our Personal Experience Network (OPEN)
We launched Our Personal Experience Network (OPEN), a diverse online community of people whose opinions and experiences inform what we do.
OPEN members have been engaged 25 times in the work of five departments and in cross-organisational strategic work. This included hypothesis generation through to project evaluation and media/parliamentary work.
OPEN’s involvement continues to enhance our work by deepening our insights and engaging new audiences.
Other highlights from this year included:
- A new partnership with the City of Sanctuary to empower their well-being work with refugees and asylum seekers.
- Trialling ways of running peer support for people experiencing Long Covid.
- Working with a police force in South Wales to help it understand the effect it is having on the mental health of the people it serves.
- Increasing our peer-delivered Further and Higher Education transition programme, U OK?, into seven universities and twelve further education colleges across England.
Spotlight on... Blue Prescribing
Working with the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, we secured funding of £109,000 from Simplyhealth to support lone parents and people with long-term health conditions from diverse backgrounds, through a wetland health programme.
‘Blue Prescribing’ promotes a range of mental and physical health benefits through facilitated wetland nature engagement at the London Wetland Centre. A co-designed self-management course is then delivered by the Mental Health Foundation.
The aim of the programme is to improve mental health by providing access to blue and green spaces whilst participating in a six-week course. Working with peer group participants will build on their learning week by week, building knowledge and resources which will help them manage their mental health.
Other highlights from this year included:
- A seminar series in Oxford exploring issues including racism as a public mental health concern and public mental health approaches to psychosis.
- Co-producing an online mental health training resource with Looseheadz for the sporting world.
- Launching a digital professional learning resource to provides both knowledge and practical advice for all school staff across Scotland on how to promote a whole school approach to mental health and well-being.
Spotlight on... pandemic resources
We maintained a COVID Resource Hub for over two years that gave advice to the public on how to look after their mental health during the various stages of the pandemic.
Initially available in English and Welsh, we developed key resources in six additional languages - Arabic, French, Farsi, Somali, Tigrinya, and Urdu - as it became clear that refugee and migrant populations were amongst those experiencing disproportionate disadvantage. With a range of approaches taken by each of the four UK nations, we needed to adapt the advice to make sure that it complied with laws and guidance that increasingly varied initially between UK nations, but also sometimes within nations where some areas fell under special measures.
Over three million visitors visited our pages in the first two years of the pandemic.
Change policy and practice
Build alliances and champion prevention in policies and changes to society that are adopted by the Government and organisations
Other highlights from this year included:
- Giving evidence to the Senedd’s Health & Social Care Committee’s inquiry into mental health inequalities.
- As chair of Scotland’s Mental Health Partnership we helped lead the publication of the ‘Promote, Prevent, Provide’ manifesto for the Scottish Parliamentary elections
- The UK Parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee published the final report of its inquiry into body image, which drew extensively on our written and oral evidence.
Spotlight on... Mental Health at Work
Our subsidiary Mental Health at Work CIC has experienced an unprecedented demand from clients over the past 12 months. Over this period, we reached 7,677 employees, working with 58 clients.
Our work has increasingly become more globalised as several clients have requested an international rollout of our programmes. In addition to the UK, we delivered workshops in the USA, Australia, Asia and mainland Europe.
Listening to the needs of our clients we developed and delivered an increasingly diverse range of workshops including MHaW Mental Health Allies®, Psychological Health and Safety, Burnout and Situational Anxiety.
We were also able to offer our clients the choice of virtual or face-to-face delivery of our facilitated workshops. As a result, we are increasing the opportunity for
people to connect at work and have natural conversations about mental health.
Mental Health Awareness Week 2021
This was the 21st year we have run Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW). The week has grown over the last few years and is the event the charity is best known for among the public. In 2021, we focused on the connection between nature and mental health.
Media coverage of the week reached an estimated 58.2 million people and included a letter to editors from Julie Walters, Gail Porter talking about mental health on C4’s Steph’s Packed Lunch and insights from Dr Radha.
In politics, Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, recorded a mental health video with our CEO, Mark Rowland. They discussed the scale of the mental health problem and the evidenced-based preventive solutions that could be actioned to tackle this growing concern. Prime Minster Boris Johnson referred to MHAW during his Coronavirus Press Conference to the nation at the very start of the week.
Spotlight on... our supporters
2021 was a record-breaking year for the London Marathon, with a whopping £215,000 raised from our wonderful 56 runners. We also ran our first Facebook challenge event, ’12,000 Steps a Day in November,’ which was popular with our supporters and proved to be a successful model of fundraising with over £37,000 raised.
One of our supporters, Ben Hayes, raised over £20,000 by walking with friends 120km in under 40 hours.
A new face-to-face fundraising model was tested in September 2021, beginning with street fundraising in London. We then tested recruiting supporters in shopping centres and train stations in Northern England. By March 2022, the campaign recruited 1,244 donors.
Our corporate partnerships included employee fundraising and events with Knight Frank as part of its Day of Giving; direct project support from Simplyhealth and Lloyd’s; cause-related promotions with Neom Organics and Floward; and customer and brand-based fundraising with Zizzi. We were pleased to be involved in the world’s biggest charity gaming event, Jingle Jam. This year the event raised almost £300,000 for the Foundation.
Supporters also raised money for us while they shopped, through affiliate fundraising platforms like AmazonSmile and PayPal, which together raised over £150,000 for the Foundation.
Julie, a new supporter
[Mental health] has affected people close to me. It was clear that the fundraisers understood the issues around mental health... somebody is trying to do something.
Ben Hayes, supporter
We chose the Mental Health Foundation due to its overall focus on the prevention of mental ill-health and the fantastic work it does ... to help make a real difference in the lives of so many people.
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