THE past two months have been among the most challenging times any of us have encountered.

The coronavirus lockdown restrictions have turned our lives upside down.

We’ve been separated from friends and loved ones. The risk posed by the virus has left many anxious.

St Helens Star:

And there are worries about jobs and financial futures. Many of the things we enjoy have had to stop.

Tragically, some have lost loved ones.

As a community St Helens has responded tremendously – with genuine kindness.

But there is no doubt the strain will have taken its toll on some. And there is nothing wrong with people putting their hand up and saying they are struggling with their wellbeing.

So in Mental Health Awareness Week and as part of the Star’s #ThereWithYou campaign, which we’ve been running throughout the pandemic, we’re shining the spotlight on the importance of people seeking the support they need.

We also want to stress the need for people to continue checking on their friends, loved ones or neighbours.

The theme of the awareness week is kindness. Showing that human spirit could be vital to helping someone in your lives.

And, as the Mental Health Foundation points out this week, helping others is also good for our own mental health and wellbeing. Acts of kindness can help reduce stress and improve emotional health.

So as we continue to face up to the challenges of this changing world we’re urging people to maintain that caring spirit and look out for each other.

Andrew Kilmurray, editor