Mental health is one of the important topics to have been thrust into the spotlight since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. From; restrictions and changes to our routines, increased planning to go about your daily business, through to the sad and depressing news of hospital admissions and death toll figures – our mental health wellbeing has really taken a battering this year.
World Mental Health Day takes place each year on 10 October and this year, the national mental health charity MIND are encouraging people to ‘do one thing’ to help improve your mental wellbeing.
1 in 4 people live with a mental illness, the circumstances surrounding the pandemic have meant that more people than ever have experienced a mental health problem, many of which will have had no previous symptoms.
My message to everyone is that mental health problems and illnesses are not selective when it comes to who experiences them. Anyone from any walk of life can be affected and it’s important for you to recognise that this year has been very hard and there is no shame in feeling down or struggling with your emotions.
As a doctor, I see people all the time with various mental health problems and I can assure you they can affect people of all ages and people with a huge variety of lifestyles.
As we approach winter it’s important to know that the darker nights and colder weather can often bring with it some gloomy mood days. For some people, the festivities of Christmas can be an especially hard time and for families separated or those who have lost loved ones this year, it will be tough.
My plea to everyone this World Mental Health Day is to make a gesture to be kind. Kindness is something we can all give, evidence shows that it improves other people’s moods and indeed also lifts our own.
Please take time to check in with loved ones and friends by sending a text or giving someone a video call to say hello. This will become more important as we go through the colder months and people, especially older people, become more isolated.
With coronavirus very much still in circulation you could help a neighbour or family member by simply asking if there’s anything they need picking up when heading out to the shops. For some people with a long term health condition, the anxiety they can experience when having to go out or the panic they may feel when running low on something they need can be very upsetting. Anything you can do to help others and be kind will help you keep mentally well also.
MIND have some great resources available on their website which may be helpful if like many other people, you are struggling with maintaining your mental wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic. Take a look at their dedicated coronavirus mental health support page.
I’d also like to remind everyone that in Doncaster we have a wide variety of services available to help you. From the crisis team to Safe Space, mental health workers in schools to the IAPT team – you are not alone.
Our website has a special local mental health services directory where you can see how to access help and contact information. Please visit the NHS Doncaster CCG mental health services webpage for more information.