Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust marks Mental Health Awareness Week

Chatham Dockyard mental health week
Chatham Dockyard mental health week

In honour of Mental Health Awareness Week 2020, and in light of current living and working situation presenting challenges for many people, Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust has launched a series of initiatives to encourage people to look after their mental health.

During Mental Health Awareness Week, Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust aims to shine a light on the ways that kindness – the theme for this year – is already flowing during this challenging time but also encourage kindness to spread further through its communities.

Some of the ways the Trust will be encouraging people to take action for mental health include:

Random acts of kindness. The Trust is providing suggestions to encourage people to get involved and make someone’s day by carrying a random act of kindness for someone else. For the Trust, this is starting right at the top with a random act of kindness from its Chief Executive Bill Ferris. 90% of the Trust’s staff have been placed on furlough leave; the mental health of these individuals is a primary concern and various support measures have been put in place. Staff who have continued to work throughout the crisis have been award an additional two days’ annual leave to recognise their commitment, good humour and focus on service. The whole team has then been encouraged to carry out random acts of kindness for three fellow colleagues.

Give to others. Many organisations are taking on new volunteers to help with tasks such as driving elderly people in need or taking a dog out for a walk. Baking and cooking is a creative way to ‘gift’ to people at home and those nearby. Whilst those who served onboard HMS Cavalier tucked into delicacies such as ‘Spithead Pheasant’, ‘Train Smash’ and ‘Yellow Peril’, the Trust has reproduced some slightly sweeter Royal Navy recipes for Bread and Butter Pudding and Patriotic Pudding for people to try at home.

Connect with other people. The Trust has provided some top tips for staying in touch to combat boredom and minimise feelings of isolation and loneliness, as well as producing a step-by-step guide to make an origami card.

Be active. To inspire physical activity for those staying at home, the Trust has found original material for Royal Navy workouts, including what was involved in the Royal Navy and Royal Marine Commando pre-joining test. For those local to Chatham, keen walkers can enjoy discovering the exceptional story of Chatham’s Dockyard and Defences through a downloadable trail leaflet.

Take notice, pay attention to the present. The Trust has provided a number of ways to practice mindfulness, including jigsaw puzzles from its artworks for people to do online. It has also recruited members of staff to ‘notice the everyday’ and take some time to reflect on a day in isolation. The series of blog posts will be shared on the Trust’s website.

Learn something new. In partnership with the National Museum of the Royal Navy, the Trust has announced two new online talks linked to its forthcoming exhibition Diving Deep: HMS Invincible 1744. Part one takes place on 21 May and explores the story of HMS Invincible, her capture and the contribution she made to the British Royal Navy. Part two, on 28 May, looks at marine archaeological techniques and the excavation and conservation of objects recovered from the Invincible wreck site.

The Trust is inviting the public to share their Random Acts of Kindness via social media or email, using #KindnessMatters. For more information on the initiatives please visit The Historic Dockyard Chatham website.