How MindWell spread kindness to all corners of the country during the coronavirus outbreak

15th June 2020

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mHabitat launched MindWell in 2016, fast-forward to 2020 and it has come a long way with over 1 million hits. The platform was co-designed to provide a single ‘go to’ place for information about mental health and local services in Leeds. Funded by Leeds CCG, we now work in partnership with Volition to deliver the award winning flagship Mindwell platform to citizens and practitioners across Leeds.

Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24 May)

Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) has always been an important time of the year for the MindWell team. Usually we like to be out meeting and talking to people. But with the country in complete lockdown, our campaign this year needed to reach people entirely through social media. 

The team felt very inspired by this year’s theme of kindness, which was a change to what the Mental Health Foundation had originally planned in response to the global situation. What’s more important than being kind to ourselves and others, and the planet, during these uncertain times?

But how could we stand out from the social media crowd? 

Gillian and Zoe from the MindWell team at Volition picked up the challenge and created the MindWell Week of Kindness. This included a planner of different daily themes, tips and activity ideas using Twitter to invite people across Leeds to be kind to their mind and their body, to spread kindness and lots more. We hoped organisations and people across the city would follow the Tweets and join in, but what happened was much more than we had imagined.

We kicked off the campaign by sending out a tweet, introducing the Planner on the Friday afternoon before MHAW. We hoped for a few likes and some retweets. It soared over that first weekend - we were amazed at double, then triple, figures.

Retweets reached 450 and we were being deluged by positive comments. It was hard to keep up with replying to everyone!

“We’ll be using this glorious planner to make kindness pledges to ourselves and others every day next week” - Sarah Fox, Leeds Mental Wellbeing Service

“Seven little gems” - TCV Hollybush

“Love this, looking at our whole selves this week!” - Leeds Methodist Mission

“This is lovely. I will use this calendar at home. We all need a little bit of time and help to relax’ - Lesley

“Great ideas to help us think about how we can take care of ourselves & each other” - Bankhead PS

‘Gorgeous, love this..’ - Aviva

And then the campaign went viral as we started to get tweets from across the country including Gloucester Cathedral, Brighton University, carers in Milton Keynes, and primary schools across Wales, Scotland and England. Soap stars from Emmerdale and Coronation Street joined in, and Leeds United and Leeds Rhinos shared the planner with their thousands of fans. We even received Royal approval with a like from the Heads Together team. 

We were delighted that people were enjoying and telling others about our resources, with lovely comments coming in all week about the kindness activities they’d been inspired to do:

“... Today I went for an hour and a half walk around North Tyneside listening to the Mamma Mia soundtrack. How are you going to be kind to your mind today?” - Abi

“Love this! Had a lie in this morning so that was my act of #kindness to myself today” - Amy

Leeds Mental Wellbeing Service was our biggest contributor during the campaign. Their peer support Twitter account shared lots of ideas during the week, such as a relaxing lunch break, practising yoga, videos from their workers and a picture of a (calming) cute hedgehog.

The campaign achieved 247,000 Twitter impressions during the week. A massive increase of 212k from our previous most successful MHAW social media campaign. And our Week of Kindness news story had an incredible 2800 hits.

In May, our Twitter profile was visited 2,330 times, we had 452 mentions and gained 213 new followers.

Analytics also showed us that the Week of Kindness MHAW page on the MindWell site had 2,154 views by the end of the week and the MindWell site had over a thousand new visitors.

If the aim of MHAW is to encourage people to talk about mental health, and the aim of MindWell running a campaign is to raise our profile, we certainly outdid our greatest expectations!

Campaign created by:

Gillian Schofield, MindWell Support Officer

Zoe Limbert, Engagement Officer and Graphic Designer

Nicola Gallear, Content and Communications Manager