Suffolk Says Thanks recognises the small acts of kindness taking place across the county in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
It is being launched by the Suffolk Resilience Forum, which contains a specific group tasked with looking at emotional wellbeing in the community as a result of the pandemic.
As a direct result of the current situation, people may be experiencing mental health issues or their emotional wellbeing may be affected. To help with this, the simple act of saying ‘thank you’ is known to have a positive effect on both the person giving thanks, as well as the person receiving it.
Stuart Keeble, Director of Public Health Suffolk, said: “Coronavirus has changed our way of life in so many ways and, as a consequence, more people’s mental health is likely to be affected.
“Suffolk residents have a huge range of mental health support available to them, and there is always someone available to talk to, 24/7. But sometimes, a simple ‘thank you’ is enough to make someone’s day and can be a small boost that they need.
“Suffolk Says Thanks builds on the appreciation that we as a nation have been showing to key workers and NHS staff – not least by clapping to show our appreciation every Thursday evening.
“So as clap for carers draws to a close, let’s say ‘thank you’ across Suffolk: the neighbour or volunteer who has put out your bins, the friend who collects your shopping or the person on your street that waves every morning as they pass by your house.”
Posters, cards and other colourful materials can be downloaded from www.suffolksaysthanks.com to provide inspiration for saying thank you in different ways. People are then invited to share their messages with others through the website and on social media using the hashtag #suffolksaysthanks.
Suffolk Says Thanks will also recognise those with the willpower to stick with it and do the right thing for themselves, their family and friends. Even as lockdown measures are gradually eased, the spread of coronavirus will only continue to slow if we keep on staying at home, washing hands and social distancing.
Gemma Levi, chair of Suffolk Resilience Forum’s Emotional Wellbeing in the Community group, said: “As a nation we’ve been great at thanking others and seen the positive impact it’s had on our key workers and in the streets. We now want to acknowledge the small acts of kindness and Suffolk Says Thanks gives people the materials and inspiration to thank those in their local community.
“We would like people to post their ‘thank yous’ as photos and videos on social media, to download materials to colour in and display in windows, or even print out one of the template letters to pop through someone’s door.
“Research into actions for promoting happiness has shown that demonstrating an act of kindness once a week over a six-week period is associated with an increase in wellbeing.
“The act of giving is one of the ‘five ways to wellbeing’, which is an established framework setting out simple steps for improving day to day mental health.”
If you are experiencing something that makes you feel unsafe, distressed or worried about your mental health you can now call the FirstResponse service on 0808 196 3494. This phoneline is provided by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and provides immediate advice, support and signposting.