Kindness the key as country starts Mental Health Awareness Week in lockdown

Today marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, with its aim to raise awareness of a topic related to mental health and provide support for those who need it.

This year’s theme was originally supposed to be “sleep”, however, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Mental Health Foundation decided in April to change it to “kindness”.

Since the UK went into lockdown the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on people’s mental health has been widely discussed.

“Now more than ever, we need to rediscover kindness in our daily lives,” said Mark Rowland, chief executive of the organisation.

A study conducted by employment consultants ERICA has revealed worrying trends regarding the mental health of young people as they prepare for life after the pandemic.

74% of participants believe that their dream careers are now at risk, with 60% saying they would neglect their own happiness and job satisfaction to remain in a role in fear of not getting another.

Betty, an 18-year-old student, who suffers from clinical depression, believes her chances of going to university next year are in doubt due to COVID.

She said: “I am very uncertain about being able to apply to university or drama schools next year. While remote working is interesting, I don’t think I benefit from it as much as being in college, especially as I’m studying photography and music.

“I don’t have access to all the equipment that I really do need, which makes me more nervous about how these A-level grades are going to affect me. My biggest concern right now about my career is that I won’t be able to get the experience that I need to be able to apply to the courses that I want.”

With many people being furloughed and facing redundancy due to the economic impact of the pandemic, the vast majority of Gen Zers are worried about their future work. Three-quarters of all unemployed Gen Zers said they feel pressure to find a job and ignore these mental health concerns.

Research conducted by VitaMinds has found that 65% of people in the North West are feeling anxious about the coronavirus pandemic, however, only 11% contacted their GP about their worries. 19% haven’t contacted their GP’s for fear of wasting their time or being asked to attend the practice in person.

Jane Muston, Clinical Director at Vita Health Group emphasised: “The key thing that we need to make clear here is that the NHS is still very much open for business.

“Our NHS services, in particular our GPs, are here to help everyone, and people must never feel that they are wasting their GPs time by contacting them about their mental health concerns.

“It is important that people do reach out to their GP, or other available support, if they have any fears around the current situation impacting their quality of life or their ability to carry out day to day activities within the current restriction.”

Two of the key methods people are using to alleviate stress include, talking to their loved ones on a daily basis (57%) and being kind to themselves (52%).

Those who cited being kind to themselves, included having a bath, practising yoga or mindfulness or doing some exercise as the key ways.

The results clearly highlight the value of being kind to others and to ourselves, perfectly tying in with the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2020.

If you need of mental health support, you can contact the charity Mind by calling the helpline on 0300 123 3393, emailing [email protected] or texting 86463. The helpline is open Monday to Friday (except bank holidays), 9am to 6pm.

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