COVID-19: REACH OUT & LISTEN
With cases rising, the reintroduction of harsh lockdown restrictions, and discouraging news coverage, remember to look after your mental health, as well as other people’s.
FEEL LONELY, WORRIED OR ANXIOUS? YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
Research has shown that many people felt panicked and afraid shortly after the initial lockdown in March. Furthermore, by the end of April, a quarter of UK adults, and 44% of 18 - 24-year-olds, had felt loneliness because of Coronavirus. Loneliness was already prevalent in the UK particularly in the elderly population, however over lockdown, feelings of loneliness have more than doubled. Combined with loneliness, a third of UK adults who work full time are concerned about losing their jobs, and 20% of unemployed people say that they have had suicidal thoughts within the last 2 weeks prior to the survey.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP YOURSELF?
Recent research from the Mental Health Foundation and collaborating university uncovers how UK adults are helping their mental health during the pandemic. Roughly half of UK adults who had experienced stress because of pandemic said these activities helped them cope;
- Visiting Green Spaces
- Contacting Family & Friends
Therefore, providing lockdown measures doesn't prevent us from going outside, you should visit your local park or field. Walk around, sit down, spend some time there. The mental health benefits of walking in nature are vast and well studied.
CONTACTING FAMILY & FRIENDS
Loneliness is extremely common, it affects one in three adults but can affect people of all ages. Loneliness damages your immune system and brain, and leads to depression, which can lead to suicide if not appropriately managed and treated. It has been shown that loneliness increases your risk of dying prematurely as much as smoking, and more than obesity. The leading causes of suicide are substance abuse, fear of loss (financial, job to family), hopelessness, and social isolation. These factors are more likely to affect us during COVID-19 lockdown than ever before.
Therefore it is a vital time to contact loved ones and people you care about on a regular basis. The best way to help stop people from feeling lonely, and to stop yourself lonely, is to stay in contact with each other. Contact everyone from your nephew, who’s self-isolating in his new uni hall, to your grandparents who’ve barely left the house since March. Loneliness is one of the saddest emotions a human being can feel, and one 5 minute phone call can make someone's day.
To try and combat poor mental health and loneliness during lockdown and self-isolation, we should all try and contact 1 person we love or care for everyday. Contact the people who you know are more likely to be lonely or who do struggle with mental health issues, but also contact those who always seem happy and strong, as sometimes this isn't the case behind closed doors.