The Mental Health of others is a topic that shouldn’t be contained to one day of the year. Of course it’s important to raise awareness and having a dedicated day for a Worldwide focus is helpful in showing solidarity across all cultures and countries, but we need to remember that some people experience difficulties at other times of the year.
Research by Rethink charity shows that nearly 80% of people living with mental illness say that Covid-19 and the national response have made their mental health worse. The Office for National Statistics reported in August that there had been a significant increase in the number of adults experiencing depressive symptoms, with the number almost doubling to nearly one in 5 (19.2%) in June 2020. So it’s important that we try to focus on what we can do to help ourselves and help others as we travel through these turbulent times of COVID-19.
Practical ways to do this include:
- Find someone to talk to about how you are feeling. It often helps to share with those you trust and who care about you.
- Keep active and do things you enjoy. This might be work or it might be other activities such as gardening, cooking or exercise.
- Eat well. Eating a balanced diet that includes your five-a-day fruit and veg will help to maintain the right nutrients in the body.
- Drink alcohol sensibly. Don’t overdo your intake of alcohol as this will affect your physical and mental resilience.
- Keep in touch and socialise. Family and friends are important parts of our lives and keeping in touch with them helps us and them.
- Engage with nature. 20 minutes in the outside natural world away from the humdrum and electronic life will help mental wellbeing.
- Learn something new. When we master a new skill we feel good about ourselves. This could be cooking, a new language or knitting; anything that makes us feel good.
The ‘New Normal’ is about to change again (and again, and again) and so our ability to adapt becomes even more important. Doing the types of activities above will help us to maintain and improve our mental health and wellbeing.
Occupational Psychologist CPsychol, AFBPsS,