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Time out with: Elizabeth Hughes-Gapper

Kalms senior project manager, Elizabeth Hughes-Gapper, tells TM what was behind the inspiration for the creation of The Kalmfulness Index

What is The Kalmfulness Index?

Over the last few years, our lives have become more anxious and stressful. We’ve braved a global pandemic only to be faced with a challenging economic situation, political and military conflict, and the on-going strains of 21st century living. That’s why we launched The Kalmfulness Index – to learn how UK adults are really coping and make recommendations on how we can support them to find moments of mental serenity in their fast-paced lives.

The Kalmfulness Index is a landmark study accessing the mental health and well-being of over 3,700 UK adults. The in-depth study asked participants to assess their health, emotional well-being and quality of life, to help identify their perceived ‘kalmfulness’. We define ‘kalmfulness’ as the state or quality of being calm, peaceful and untroubled in the midst of daily life. The study considered everything from stress levels and hours of sleep achieved to financial struggles, work-life balance, quality time with close relationships and more.

Can you tell us about the findings?

The findings, launched during National Kalmfulness Week, showed that nearly half of adults (46 per cent) living in the UK often feel stressed and unable to cope. The workplace is a key cause of stress, with more than one in three (38 per cent) struggling to balance their work and home life, including taking care of family members. The burden of financial strain also continues to take its toll on UK adults, with over half (53 per cent) saying they are under consistent stress due to the cost of living.

But it isn’t all doom and gloom. The Kalmfulness Index also offers a fascinating insight into best practices to help boost emotional well-being, acting as a useful guide for patients wishing to make their mental health a priority. For many, simple lifestyle changes, such as prioritising sleep, keeping active and eating well, can help make a difference. Making time for loved ones, getting outdoors or practicing a little self care can also be wonderful ways to decompress and settle into a calmful state of mind. For patients in need of additional support, pharmacists can help guide them on OTC treatments available. In fact, The Kalmfulness Index found that 28 per cent of UK adults have sought to increase their understanding and usage of herbal medicines.

Has this impacted the goals of Kalms as a brand?

At Kalms, we recognise that we can all feel a little lost and overwhelmed at times. Our mission is to help people feel more like themselves again. We’re fully committed to helping the nation cultivate more kalmfulness. This is why, following a successful launch in 2022, the philosophy has become our creative brand platform, influencing all our marketing strategies, including a brand-new TV advertisement, which is rolling out in 2024, and even prompting a brand refresh.

This brand refresh has been consumer-centric at every stage, emphasising our aim to support mental health and emotional wellbeing through the use of our traditional herbal remedies. Whilst all our products still have the same formulas as before, the packaging re-design makes the range more recognisable on shelf and delivers clearer on-pack education on the key benefits of products, thus helping consumers to choose the right remedy based on their needs.

What were the intentions of National Kalmfulness Week in November?

National Kalmfulness Week is an annual, UK-wide awareness week that informs, educates and reminds people to prioritise their mental health. Its purpose is to provide support and resources to anyone struggling or just wanting to improve their emotional well-being, including using self-help techniques. Each year, we want as many people as possible – individuals and HCPs - to take part and to help the UK cultivate more kalmfulness and support positive mental health for all.

How can pharmacy teams play a role?

Pharmacy teams have an essential role to play. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society estimates that community pharmacists and their teams interact with 1.6 million people every day and their convenient locations place them in the heart of communities. They are, therefore, particularly important and well-placed to help look out for the early detection of mental health and well-being issues.    

Accessing a patient’s mental health symptoms and severity is also critical before establishing appropriate action.  If the symptoms presented are mild, the appropriate action may be to simply provide advice on positive behavioural change, lifestyle choices and OTC treatments, such as the Kalms Range. For patients with more severe symptoms, pharmacy teams can signpost them to relevant support or, if required, alert their GP to the need for specialist mental health support.

How can readers find out more?

For more information, visit Kalms or email kalms@laneshealth.com.

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