The easing of lockdown and the effects on our mental health: Dr David Crichton

Today we enter the second phase in the easing of lockdown restrictions as outlined in the Government’s plans to ‘unlock England’.

Following the reopening of schools last month and successfully meeting the criteria set out by the Government we can ‘cautiously’ ease further restrictions.

These include:

  • Non-essential retail, hair and beauty salons and public buildings such as libraries and community centres
  • Most outdoor attractions including zoos and theme parks and drive-in performances
  • Indoor leisure facilities with restrictions
  • Hospitality venues that can serve people outdoors only
  • Self-contained accommodation such as holiday lets
  • Funerals can continue with up to 30 people and the number of people able to attend weddings and will rise to 15, though receptions must be held outdoors
  • some smaller outdoor events such as fetes, literary fairs and fairgrounds will be able to take place
  • all childcare and supervised activities will be allowed indoors and outdoors for all children
  • Parent and child groups can take place indoors and as outdoors for up to 15 people (children under 5 will not be counted in this number)
  • Care home residents will be able to nominate two named individuals for regular indoor visits (following a rapid lateral flow test)


All the businesses reopening during this phase have a requirement to continue to follow the guidance, so although they are opening, things will still be very different. It’s important that you understand the rules in place before you attend any venues or premises where other people will be present. Additionally, we all have a responsibility to continue to follow the social distance guidance ‘Hands. Face. Space’. This is important the virus is still present and still presents a risk to many people. To protect our loved ones and to guarantee we don’t have another lockdown we need to ensure that we always follow the guidance.

This last year has been especially difficult for all of us, and I have focused in my previous blogs a lot about looking after your mental health but when thinking about the easing of lockdown, this will bring many people worries and concerns which may cause anxiety and stress. April is Stress Awareness Month, Stress is one of our greatest public health challenges because it’s a significant factor in conditions like depression and is also linked to physical health problems such as heart disease, insomnia and digestive issues.

This month is our opportunity to help break the stigma around stress: talk about stress and its effects with your friends and colleagues and show compassion to those who are feeling anxious. Most importantly, look after yourself – take time out of your day to relax and ensure you have space to breathe.

To find out more about what you can do during Stress Awareness Month, visit  and if you’re feeling stressed or anxious and would like to talk to someone about it, you can contact the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies service (IAPT) for Doncaster residents. Alternatively take a look at the ‘mental health top tips and support services’ that Doncaster has to offer.