Mental health during Covid-19 lockdown
There are signs that mental health issues may have risen in the population during 2020, particularly among young people.
With changing restrictions governing our lives, many people are concerned about the impact on mental health.
So, what can help us during these uncertain times?
Your feelings are normal!
Firstly, it is important to acknowledge that it’s normal to experience anxiety and low mood during these unprecedented times. When the future is as uncertain as it is now, we may worry more, trying to predict what might happen next and living in the moment less. This can be particularly difficult if we are anxious about things which are outside our control.
High levels of uncertainty, combined with isolation from friends and family, may result in changes which feel overwhelming. This may include difficulties sleeping, eating more or less than normal, or finding it hard to concentrate or make decisions.
Same storm, different boats
Although the Covid-19 pandemic is the same ‘storm’ for everyone, we are not all in the same ‘boat’. Experiences of the pandemic vary considerably, with some people facing greater challenges than others in getting through the storm. For example, you may have serious concerns about finances, employment, study, your own health or that of friends and family members.
With further national restrictions on top of those many people have been under since July, these worries may have increased, particularly as we move into the winter months.
Ten top tips for staying mentally well
Many of us will be able to manage these uncertain times and protect our mental health by taking one day at a time and focusing on our wellbeing:
- Have a daily structure
- Get regular daily exercise, preferably outside
- Maintain your sleep routines
- Try to eat a healthy diet and get support if you are in financial crisis
- Keep in contact with friends, family and loved ones online or on the telephone, where possible
- Make time for enjoyable activities, relaxation, and self-care
- Restrict media and social media that increases a sense of despair and helplessness
- Cultivating an attitude of gratitude can help improve mental health and may be even more important during times of significant challenge as a result of Covid-19.
- Have hope: it will not solve our problems or make them go away, but it can give us the motivation to keep going when times are difficult
- Contact helplines to get support if you need it
Help is available
If you are concerned that you, or someone else, may be developing mental health difficulties and require support beyond the self-help strategies outlined above, help is available. During the first lockdown, it was reported that one in three adults and more than one in four young people did not attempt to access support because they did not think that their problem was serious enough, and there was a fall in referrals to NHS talking therapies and children and adolescent mental health services. Services remain open and support is being offered online. Please see the following link for more details, or speak to your GP:
Please use the NHS website to find a service, or speak to your GP.
Get support for your mental health condition
For people with pre-existing mental health conditions, please reach out and try to get as much support as possible. This can be via your GP and statutory services, and support is also available from national organisations; details can be found here
Get help in a crisis
Finally, if you, or someone else, is in crisis and thinking about suicide, please get help immediately.
More information on help available can be found here:
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