Reflections from Mental Health Awareness Week
Mental health has always been an important part of our heritage and, as we reflect on Mental Health Awareness Week in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognise the importance of continuing to raise awareness of the challenges that mental illness can cause.
In the UK, one in four people has experienced a mental health problem1, while in England alone 550,000 people are currently living with severe mental illness2. As part of our commitment to make a positive difference to the lives of patients and their loved ones, we want to do everything possible to help those severely affected by mental illness.
At Janssen, we are great believers in the power of partnerships and, as part of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies, we are incredibly proud to be working alongside Mental Health UK, whose founding charities deliver frontline services providing advice, information and support to those living with mental illness. Our three-year partnership involves a number of initiatives, one of which includes trialling a new model for community-based mental health care in the UK, which has the potential to transform the way care is delivered to those living with severe mental illness.
We are also acutely aware of the strain that the current COVID-19 health crisis is not only putting on people’s mental health, but also on the services that they turn to for support. Since UK lockdown measures were put in place, Mental Health UK helplines have received 500,000 calls for support – a 37 fold increase. In the same time period, the charity has also experienced a decrease in funding with the cancellation of fundraising events. Through the Johnson & Johnson EMEA Foundation, our company has been able to make additional funding available to ensure the Mental Health UK helplines and Advice Information Centre are available for those in need. Our hope is that this donation will maintain these crucial services, while simultaneously helping to reduce the pressure on healthcare systems.
Another important way in which we can look out for ourselves and each other, is by simply being kind. The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week was ‘kindness’ and with our daily lives being turned upside down by COVID-19, now more than ever, small acts of kindness can make a big difference.
As we weather this storm together, we remain fully committed to the health and wellbeing of our patients, customers, employees and communities, and will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with those who need us most.
Gaetan Leblay, Managing Director, UK & Ireland
Paul Saunders, Business Unit Director - Immunology & Neuroscience & CSR Lead