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Blog: UN SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being 2022

Staff Ambassador Blog - UN SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being

It's Mental Health Awareness Week, I wrote my last blog last during the pandemic, and after various lockdowns, I wanted to focus on coming out of lockdown.

Many were desperate to return to normality, but it wasn't without the anxieties that followed and for others, returning to normality or the 'new normal' was quite simply terrifying. There were some who had never had anxieties before, suddenly scared to leave the house.

The mental health and well-being of the entire world has suffered; and each and every person has their own way of coping or dealing with challenging times.

Some people were straight back into the swing of socialising and being in busy places again, some needed more time and space to adjust and still do.

It's great to hear more and more people talk openly about their mental health like they would their physical health, but there is still more work to be done.

The Mental Health Foundation are focusing this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week theme on loneliness.

Studies show that loneliness can lead to increased depression and anxiety, as well as physical responses such as raised blood pressure, lower immune functioning, heart disease and cognitive decline.

“One in four adults feel lonely some or all the time. There’s no single cause and there’s no one solution. After all, we’re all different! But, the longer we feel lonely, the more we are at risk of mental health problems. Some people are also at higher risk of feeling lonely than others.”

You can read more about this campaign here.

When it comes to mental health in Northamptonshire, we've seen community groups and charities rallying to combat the growing mental health crisis. Some of the amazing groups we've funded include:

Renew 169 Wellbeing Café - The aim of renew169 Wellbeing is to offer a safe space where it is OK not to be OK, for people with mental health or emotional difficulties to visit; to improve wellbeing, reduce stigma associated with mental health, loneliness and social isolation.

They have recently received funding through our Winter Well-being Fund to support their Food and Move – Improve Your Mood project. The project aims to provide a much-needed service by ensuring that customers receive warm food at lunchtime and are provided with the opportunity to learn new skills in menu planning, making nutritious meals and keeping active to keep warm and well.

Bradlaugh Fields & Barn - conserve and protect the semi-natural green space in the centre of Northampton. They have recently received funding through the Constance Travis Endowment Global Goals fund to develop an eco-therapy offering for the local community. This was following feedback during Covid about importance of access to nature after increased health inequality and mental health crisis from isolation during covid. Bradlaugh Fields and Barns will use the funding they have received to provide four connection days through each season which will include nature walks, mindfulness activities, foraging, tracking, grounding and nature identification.

Martial Arts Academy of Excellence - bring the local community together, using sport and self-defence; karate / kickboxing to build community cohesion through improving their fitness, social inclusion and group work.

They have recently received funding through the Constance Travis Global Goals fund to provide weekly martial arts training sessions for young people. The classes focus on both group and individual physical activity to improve physical fitness and strength whilst also helping to improve young people’s confidence and allow them to mix socially. As well as improving young people’s mental health, the project aims to draw young people away from crime and anti-social behaviour by providing an after-school activity.

To find out more about the local community projects we have funded or to support the Foundation please explore our website further.       

I really believe that health and well-being should be a priority at work and I am so proud that I work for a charity that asks me to put it front and centre of my role. As staff champion for Good Health & Well-being, we run a wellbeing programme for staff members.

Here are some of the wellbeing activities that we have taken part in:

  • Potting and Growing Sunflowers - sunflower kits provided by The Green Patch
  • Martial Arts Self Defence Class – facilitated by Martial Arts Academy of Excellence
  • Art Therapy Zoom Class - provided by Art Works!
  • Bhangra Dance class – facilitated by Sikh Community Centre and Youth Club
  • Mindful Meditation – run by Beat The Street

I would encourage any organisations to run a wellbeing programme for staff, it boosts morale and productivity.

"Taking care of physical and mental health should be integral to all daily routines. Unfortunately, both are often overlooked in favour of other commitments, hobbies or habits. Introducing a small and manageable activity, such as a 10-minute walk or meditation, is a great way to start improving your overall wellbeing. Flexibility and consistency are key to adopting a healthier lifestyle."

Ed Caswell, Trustee Ambassador for UN SDG 3: Good Health & Well-being at NCF

For further information on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals click here

San-D Godoy Messenger, Grants Team Officer and Staff Ambassador for UN SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being