Column by South Gloucestershire Council's cabinet member for public health and equality of opportunity, Franklin Owusu-Antwi.

Fancy a cuppa? It might not seem like much but asking such a simple question could make a big difference to someone’s wellbeing. This week (9 – 15 May) it’s Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme is loneliness. It’s something that any of us can experience at any point, no matter our circumstances. One in four adults experience loneliness some or all of the time.

We know that many people are directly affected by loneliness, a problem that grew worse during the Covid-19 pandemic. We also know the long-term harm that it can have on both our mental health and our physical wellbeing.

As Cabinet Member for Public Health and Equality of Opportunity, I am committed to making sure that help and support is available to those who need it, and that we give mental health the recognition that it needs.

The good news is that there are simple, supportive steps that we can all take to help. Why not give a friend or family member a call or text, invite them for a walk, or go round for a cup of tea and a chat? These simple actions can be invaluable in helping someone feel less lonely and improving their mental health.

There is also more structured support available. Our ‘One You’ webpage is a fantastic resource for people looking to connect with others, get more involved in their community, and become more active generally. Whether it’s a walking or running group, a friendship club, volunteering opportunities or a wellbeing workshop, you can find help on this website:

I’d also like to point people towards the help the NHS offers to those suffering from loneliness. They have a dedicated webpage - - full of useful information, both if you are feeling lonely and if you are looking for ways to support someone else.

Join the conversation on social media by using #IveBeenThere and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek to find out more about Mental Health Awareness Week to find or provide help this week, next week and whenever it’s needed.