Kindness and mental health

In 2020, we found that 63% of UK adults agree that when other people are kind it has a positive impact on their mental health, and the same proportion agree that being kind to others has a positive impact on their mental health.

Kindness is defined by doing something towards yourself and others, motivated by genuine desire to make a positive difference. We know from the research that kindness and our mental health are deeply connected. The research shows that kindness is an antidote to isolation and creates a sense of belonging. It helps reduce stress, brings a fresh perspective and deepens friendships. Kindness to ourselves can prevent shame from corroding our sense of identity and help boost our self-esteem. Kindness can even improve feelings of confidence and optimism. 

Colourful graphic with the text 'kindness'

Kindness research briefing

Kindness can have real benefits for our mental health and wellbeing. In April of 2020, the Mental Health Foundation worked with YouGov to conduct an online survey of 4,246 UK adults.

Read the report

Why kindness matters in public policy

In policy-making, kindness has tended to be dismissed as irrational and sentimental. However, given its importance to our wellbeing, policies affecting our mental health should not ignore kindness.

Read the policy briefing

Kindness matters guide

This guide gives you tips on how to bring kindness into your life. We will look in more detail at volunteering, doing something for a good cause and acts of kindness.

Learn more

Random acts of kindness

Take action and carry out a random act of kindness for someone else.

Find out more

Podcast: Kindness matters to our mental health

In this podcast episode, we talk to you about why kindness matters and how it is central to our mental health.

Listen now

Why did we pick kindness as the theme?

Why kindness is the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2020.

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Kindness stories

Read a few stories from some of our lovely supporters on the acts of kindness that they experienced or shared with others during our Kindness campaign.
Read the stories
Two people wishing each other a good morning