Covid and Mental Health
Over the past 12 months, the Covid pandemic has made headlines, captured our imaginations, ignited our fears, and generated, fuelled or amplified a wide range of emotions in ways that – for many of us – were entirely new.
Studies clearly show that lockdown periods have been really difficult times for many of us. The longer we stayed in lockdown, our ability to cope was reduced, and for those experiencing additional challenges, such as unemployment, disruption of education, home schooling or isolation, these have been extremely trying times.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, every year, in the UK an estimated 17 MILLION DAYS are lost to stress, anxiety and depression. 74% of UK adults have felt so stressed and low at some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.
Below are some simple points that can be used to not only help your own mental wellbeing but that of your loved ones as well:
• Talk about your mood and its effects – let’s talk about the topic and share your feelings openly and freely with friends, family and colleagues. You might find it extremely difficult to start with but taking the first step can be a huge step towards improving your mental wellbeing.
• Share your coping mechanisms – if something has worked for you why not share it. It might benefit someone who is very struggling, and contribute their greater emotional and physical health in a way that you have never imagined.
• Be nice to those who are stressed and anxious – we are all undoubtedly going to experience stress and anxiety in our lifetime so treat others going through wit with compassion and empathy.
• Look after yourself – Take time out of your day for your interests and hobbies. Don’t forget to exercise and eat healthily, and make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
What is absolutely important to remember is that the experience of the past year has been shared by everyone. We have all been in the same storm, but the Coronavirus vaccine brings hope. The warmer weather brings smiles. However, for many of us, the next few months – and even years – will remain tough, vulnerable and uncertain.
The wellbeing impact of the pandemic is here to stay. Any of us can experience a mental health problem. But the risk is not evenly distributed. For many people, happiness and “normality” will rebound quickly. For others, who have lost relatives, jobs, or parts of their own identity, recovery will take much longer. If the past year has taught us anything, it is that in these next few months of recovery we will need to actively start rebuilding a future rooted in kindness, equality and empathy.
The World Health Organisation, together with partners, is providing guidance and advice during the COVID-19 pandemic for health workers, managers of health facilities, people who are looking after children, older adults, people in isolation and members of the public more generally, to help us look after our mental health.
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