Humanists UK and two of its patrons, actor Eddie Marsan and actor, presenter, and writer Janet Ellis, have teamed up with NHS mental wellbeing app, GoodThinking to share their experiences of the last year and how they as humanists have faced the challenges of lockdown.
In his video, Eddie Marsan opens up about his experience of homeschooling his four children, and his ‘tricks’ for coping with low mood, including meditation, cooking, and coming together with his family at meal times. He goes on to say,
‘What lockdown – as a humanist – has made me realise, is the importance of people in our lives, how interconnected we are and how we all need each other’.
He says that he’s energised by his family and friends, but also by the small interactions he has day-to-day such as ‘seeing someone across the road.’
Sharing her experience of grief and isolation, Janet Ellis spoke about the death of her husband last year. To help deal with the ‘cacophony’ in her head, Janet said:
‘I remembered, as a humanist, that I believe passionately in people. I believe in what we are capable of. I believe in our joint experience, and in our singular ability to find our way to love, happiness, beauty, and an inner strength.’
By remembering that people are ‘in essence good’, she is reminded that human ingenuity and creativity will take us out of this ‘hibernation.’
Good Thinking is London’s free digital mental wellbeing service providing proactive self-care for the four most common mental health concerns: anxiety, low mood, sleeping difficulties, and stress. It was developed through a partnership of local authorities, the NHS, Public Health England and the Mayor of London and is delivered by Healthy London Partnership.
More articles on humanist approaches to care, and coping with mental health and grief during the pandemic:
- The art of listening: an interview with humanist pastoral carer Lindsay van Dijk
- A commitment to be there for people: Interview with humanist pastoral carer Joanna Mutlow
- Humanist Ceremonies blog: Supporting grieving friends and relatives during lockdown
- Humanist National Memorial Ceremony for the victims of the pandemic
- Joan Bakewell: Humanism and humour in times of crisis
- Finding your strength: worrying and resilience
Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by over 100,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefiting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.
Humanists UK has over 170 patrons who support its work in various ways through their expertise and prominence in various fields. Existing patrons include significant figures from the spheres of science, philosophy, human rights activism, politics, the arts, and broadcasting. The President of Humanists UK is the anatomist, author, and broadcaster, Professor Alice Roberts. She is supported by Vice Presidents Professor Jim Al-Khalili, Professor AC Grayling, Shappi Khorsandi, and Polly Toynbee.