WHETHER you are feeling stressed, anxious, angry, depressed, lonely, or just want to feel happier, it is important to remember people are there to help.

“Remember, you’re not alone.”

Those are the words of England captain Harry Kane, as part of the Heads Together campaign supporting Mental Health Awareness Week, with the theme of the week being kindness.

The Tottenham striker teamed up with world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, as well as singer Dua Lipa and actor David Tennant to give powerful messages on the subject – not to mention the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also showing their support.

Bournemouth Echo:

From May 18 to 24 – people across the nation have been reminded that physical and mental health are equal.

Cherries head of domestic first team player scouting Andy Howe is immensely proud to see so many high-profile names open up about the issue - and believes the increase in awareness has come at the perfect time.

Howe himself is an ambassador for the Dorset Mind mental health charity. He suffered with depression after the loss of his grandmother Anne eight years ago.

The 25-year-old has been dealing with his own mental health during the lockdown period – trying his hand at yoga, listening to podcasts, walking and cooking to keep his mind busy in the downtime away from his work.

He has also been sticking to a regular daily routine throughout the COVID-19 crisis, something he believes is vitally important to stay mentally healthy.

“The week is significant to increase awareness, but it’s not just about this week – mental health is important every day,” said Howe, the nephew of Cherries boss Eddie.

“The 365 days of the year, mental health should be thought about. The theme this year focuses on kindness – not only to yourself but to others.

“The lockdown and the pandemic has been a tough challenge for everyone. Everyone has tried to get through it in different ways but I think this awareness week has come at the right time during lockdown because it will not only educate people to look after and think of themselves, but also, hopefully, to take that first step towards getting help.”

Howe admitted a feeling of relief when he realised he had support around him.

“I didn’t really know at first,” he said. “I was always quite down, quite moody, I didn’t really want to talk to anyone. I went into a dark place.

“When I realised, it was my friend who highlighted it to me.

“It was just knowing, as a friend, that they would support me to go to a counselling meeting. It almost made me feel at ease and just feel like a normal person.

“The councillor highlighted the fact that I am not the only one. They said ‘look, we see so many people from all various ages and genders’ and that’s the thing with mental health – it isn’t just you. Everyone can suffer from it but in different ways.

“Hearing that you are not the only person really did help because it just made you feel like anyone else. You just didn’t feel like the odd one out.

“There is always someone there, whether it’s a family member, a friend or a colleague. It doesn’t even have to be someone that you know.”

Bournemouth Echo:

Howe, who is set to run the London Marathon for Dorset Mind in October, said: “I’m very happy, positive in myself and have been for quite a few years now. However, I am human and I can still have my bad days from time to time - but I have my coping mechanisms now to help me and I know the potential warning signs.

“If I feel down, I go for a run. The endorphins get going and I feel good again. I believe in having a goal or task outside of my work life.

“It’s a goal to aim towards and something I can reward myself with at the end with a medal – or knowing I have raised money for Dorset Mind.

“Where I have been injured during the lockdown, I have had to figure out something else, so that’s why I have gone down the route of listening to podcasts, trying yoga and going on long walks.

“It’s all about finding what works for you. It could be painting, fishing, cycling, anything like that, but it’s understanding what your coping mechanism is - that’s so important.

“Dorset Mind have been fantastic in what they do - they quickly adapted and continued to deliver support across Dorset, to meet the restraints of lockdown. Not only that, they’ve witnessed an increase in demand.

“They are urging people to #bekindtoyourmind during this time.”

Bournemouth Echo:

Having worked within football since the age of 15 – Howe is delighted to see so many prominent figures in the game speaking out about keeping the mind healthy.

He added: “I saw Harry Kane’s video talking about mental health and it’s great to see such high profile people talking about it because it’s breaking down the stigma that’s so wrongly been there for so many years.

“The work that Heads Together have been doing with Prince William has really pushed it.

“Tyrone Mings, Eddie Howe, Gareth Southgate and the England squad have all backed the campaigns. You’ve even had movie stars like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson discuss it.

“It’s great to see stigma is reducing, for sure. This is immensely aided by high profile people talking about it. Everyone has just got to keep talking, otherwise it won’t ever properly go.”

Cherries have also shown their support in teaming up with Dorset Health Care to aid the physical and mental wellbeing of their supporters through the COVID-19 crisis.

Defender Chris Mepham has become the ambassador for #afcbwellbeing.

“I am immensely proud to see that the football club have been great in backing mental health campaigns and helping the community,” added Howe.

You can get in touch with Dorset Mind on 01202 315329 or by visiting dorsetmind.uk You can also call Samaritans on 116123.