Generating awareness is such a crucial aspect of working in the charity sector. From our perspective – whether it is for our support services, education & research, or our fundraising – greater awareness will help us help more people and spread our messages further.
Awareness days/ weeks/months are popular across most sectors and topics as they allow a focus of engagement on topics that may not usually get it. Social media and the use of hashtags help with this as any focus can be amplified and catalogued across the web.
In the first few weeks of October there have been four overlapping awareness events that have, directly and indirectly, been associated with the terrible but important topic of baby loss.
#BabyLossAwarenessWeek is an annual event which provides an opportunity for bereaved families to come together to remember and commemorate their babies’ lives. Events and activity also helps raise awareness of pregnancy and baby loss and the week itself provides a springboard to drive positive change in bereavement care in this area. This year coincided with the Out of Sight, Out of Mind campaign report which focused on the need for increased psychological support for bereaved families.
It just so happens that during #BabyLossAwarenessWeek, the 10th October was #WorldMentalHealthDay. We know all too well the devastating effects bereavement can have on a family and the mental health of individuals. Often, like baby loss, talking about mental health can be seen as a taboo subject but greater awareness and knowledge of both topics are hopefully making it less so. Moreover, the Out of Sight, Out of Mind report highlights the strong links between baby loss and mental health and the importance of providing support in the short, medium, and long run.
Which leads us to #selfmanagementweek. Taking place every year it raises awareness and showcases the huge benefits self-management can bring. Self management is about assisting people living with long-term conditions move towards regaining control of their life in partnership with support and services. Although we wouldn’t describe bereavement and grief as a condition, we have to acknowledge the long-term impact it has. Maybe it is the link between bereavement support and the acknowledgement and understanding of its longterm-ism will in turn lead to improved and sustained services for families. – We can only hope. Maybe by looking at our own provision of support in this way, we can offer increasingly effective support. Many of the support services we offer as a charity perhaps already fall into this category – helping families understand grief, look after their mental health, accessing specialist services if required, Next Infant Support Programme. Any of these services can be accessed at any time following bereavement.
Finally, the Scottish Cot Death Trust was lucky enough to be one the small charities chosen to benefit from Global radio’s #MakeSomeNoise campaign. Doing exactly what it says on the tin the campaign was the perfect opportunity for us to #Makesomenoise. A wide range of people including our staff and trustees, families, and celebrities spoke about our charity, baby loss, and the support services we offer – raising awareness of the topic on a national level, all topped off with a fundraising element which raised over £4,000,000 for nominated charities.
However, we must remember that raising awareness of baby loss, mental health, and support services isn’t just something we do during the first two weeks of October – it’s something we strive to do whenever possible, because its then we can drive change and provide better support for individuals and families who have lost. And it’s always better when people join in and help us do so.
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