“Did you know that acts of kindness are a key contributor to mentally healthy communities? Kindness, as research has shown, also makes us happier, improves physical health, slows ageing, and improves relationships.”
“Let’s start a conversation about kindness in Devon. . . “
The principal behind the project is that acts of kindness can have a big impact – on both the giver and the receiver. It directly relates to the mental wellbeing of a person and is a simple method by which anyone can participate in positive behaviours. Using kindness as a tool to start discussion about the benefits and application of acts of kindness, while at the same time raising awareness of mental health and wellbeing.
Our town is not a mental health utopia – that isn’t realistic – but what is realistic is the general sense of community belonging that we hear from people time and again; the openness to talk, the listening to different points of view, the engagement, and bringing people into the fold.
This idea of talking and sharing, the accessible nature of conversations, and the belief in the little things, helped us form the basis for the project and it part of our broader mental wellness focus, #YouGotThis.
In an ideal world Devon will be a community where people understand the correlation between acts of kindness, physical, social, and emotional activities. Where residents are free of stigma about mental health, where the pressures of everyday life are mitigated by the place in which they live, that there is access to supports where needed, where prevention is established as better than cure, a place where everyone feels heard, and genuine kindness is a daily occurence.
Our aim is to ensure that between us all we are building a community where residents will feel comfortable, not only asking for help but offering it and reinforcing the idea that the small changes really can make a difference.
You can read this article here that gives a personal view of the impact of kindness by a Washington Post journalist.
There are a number of ways in which you can participate. This is an ongoing project with a few key initiatives, some of which have dates attached to them but the majority is in your own time and space.
The easiest thing you can do is start a conversation with your friends, family, neighbours. To help you do this, we have provided five starter questions to help you initiate the discussion. If you want to take that a bit further, you can take part in the online survey, which are specific questions that relatwe to kindness and mental health and wellbeing.
You can show kindness in everyday life; from picking up the phone to say hello, to dropping round a baked loaf, to offering to pick something up for someone, to raking their yard. It could even be as simple as saying hi to someone in the street or taking the time to stop with someone who might need to see a friendly face.
We will also be hosting an online meeting to talk about kindness and how it impacts us and others.
Kindness Rocks messaging - paint a rock and write a kind message on the back, leave it somewhere for people to pick up.
Visioning gathering. At some point, when it is safe to do so, we will be hosting an in-person session that will focus on the feedback from the kindness conversations and create an undersanding and vision into what this looks like in Devon.
Try some of these ideas (where and when safe to do so):
Check out this video that shows scientifically proven reasons kindness works https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/the-science-of-kindness
This project, is part of the Rural Mental Health Project. For more information click here: https://ruralmentalhealth.ca/
An act of kindness can be as simple and as a smile, a genuine greeting or acknowledgement, intentionally including someone in something, and can be a big as you can imagine. Many acts of kindness are free or low cost and are proven to make a difference to the mental wellbeing of a person. An act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.
We are interested to know your thoughts on kindness and mental health / wellbeing. This survey will take no more than five minutes and you can be entered into a draw (drawn at the end of the year) to win $50 gift card.
Please take the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Devonkindness
Devon FCSS is here to answer your questions. For more information on how Devon FCSS supports residents and to discuss services, follow this link to our mental health and wellness page or call 780-987-8325.