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Mental Health Awareness Week at Christ Church

Written by Aoife Miralles, GCR Welfare Officer, posted on Monday, May 9, 2022

View across Tom QuadThis year, Mental Health Awareness Week (Monday 9 - Sunday 15 May) takes ‘loneliness’ as its focus.

Despite common misconceptions, loneliness isn’t about the number of people we have around us, the amount of time we spend alone, or the ageing process. Rather, it is the feeling that arises when there is a discrepancy between the social connections that we have, and those that we need or desire. It can feel overwhelming and difficult to talk about. Emily Dickinson, a nineteenth-century American poet, powerfully conveys this in her poem ‘The Loneliness One Dare Not Sound’, where she describes loneliness as:

The Horror not to be surveyed—

But skirted in the Dark—

With Consciousness suspended—

And Being under Lock— (9-12).

The overarching aim of this week is – in the Mental Health Foundation’s words – ‘to give loneliness the attention that it deserves, bringing it out from the shadows where it so often is hidden’. This is especially important in light of the pandemic. The UK saw a significant rise in the number of people experiencing loneliness in a variety of different ways. Across the last two years, our interactions with others have changed. In some cases, relationships were disrupted, altered, or lost. As research into loneliness highlights, the nature of our connection with the people and communities around us is fundamental to our mental wellbeing. It’s clear that we need to think seriously about the so-called ‘forgotten foundation of mental health and wellbeing’ – healthy relationships – in order to find better ways of tackling loneliness.

There are so many ways to get involved this week! Here are a few suggestions:

  • Get in touch with a friend or neighbour you haven’t spoken with in a while.
  • Share your experiences of loneliness, if you feel comfortable doing so, using the hashtags #IveBeenThere and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.
  • Participate in some of the activities on offer in Christ Church this week!

A Brain Strain Tea meet-upThe Welfare Team have put together a wonderful programme of events for Mental Health Awareness Week at Christ Church. These range from a drop-in crafts session in the Chapter House to a GCR Welfare Brunch, and from a tour with Christ Church’s Head Gardener to an afternoon Brain Strain Tea. We would encourage everyone to engage in some way by coming along to an event or by checking out the wide range of resources at or By getting involved in a larger movement, we can work to shift the prevailing narrative around mental health.

Please remember that if you are struggling and need to talk to someone about your mental health, you can reach out to a member of the Welfare Team, to your GP, or to a friend or colleague. Information about the welfare support available in college can be found on the following webpage:    

Click here for the programme of activities that will be taking place in Christ Church during Mental Health Awareness Week 2022!