There’s no vaccine for Mental Health
Over a year since the pandemic began and we are no closer to a cure for mental health. The vaccine is bringing hope to many for the physical side effects of the virus however what about the mental impact.
In an ongoing study by Mental Health England – Coronavirus: Mental Health in the Pandemic. Below are some of their latest wave’s findings:
- Loneliness has increased in the UK population from 10% (March 2020) to 26% (Feb 2021)
- Young People (18 – 24) being the worst hit with 48% reporting feeling lonely
- Thoughts of suicide have increased from 8% (April 2020) to 13% (Feb 2021)
- Unhealthy activities have increased such as eating and drinking more.
What does loneliness mean?
- You feel alone or left out
- You want to be alone
- You feel like you don’t have anyone
- You feel your relationships lack meaning
- You feel isolated from others
- You feel no one understands your struggles and pain.
Over time loneliness may lead to self-destructive habits such as overeating, drinking too much and not exercising. You’ll also notice a decline in your will power and perseverance- no wonder you haven’t managed to stick to that diet or given up on your goals during lockdown.
How can you overcome feelings of loneliness?
No matter how much you don’t want to, you need to try to override your instinct to be alone. As restrictions start to change you are able to meet others, however if you feel anxious about meeting up. You can still connect over the telephone, video calls or even text.
Ask people for what you need
You may be surrounded by people but still feel completely alone. Or live alone but don’t let anyone know how you’re feeling. Often people don’t realise you need support or that they’re doing (or not doing) something to make you feel that way. All you need to do is ask.
Avoid social media
If you find yourself comparing yourself to others and it makes you feel worse, then take a break from social media. Seeing others portraying a perfect life online can make you question your life. It’s important to remember people don’t post the bad stuff.
Build new meaningful relationships
Find new connections, join local groups, sign up to courses, take on a hobby. There are also some online groups aimed at making new friends who organise weekly and monthly events.
Allow yourself to feel
Trying to avoid your feelings, will only make them stronger. The more you try to ignore them or think you’ve managed to bury them deep inside, will make them bubble up when you least expect it. By allowing yourself to feel but not becoming consumed you can work through your thoughts and feelings.
Speak to someone: a trusted friend or professional
If you aren’t feeling any better and struggling reach out to get support.
Coronavirus: Mental Health in the Pandemic (2021) https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/research-and-policies/wave-10-late-february-2021