By Keziah Cracknell
While there may be a few small positives for some people while this lockdown has continued (my house has never been cleaner), there have also been many negatives for many more.
One of the biggest and most difficult to assess is how people’s mental health has been affected while quarantined.
This is a topic that normally gets talked about, but, in light of the unprecedented numbers of people who have died from COVID-19, the conversation has somewhat shifted.
Some preliminary studies have shown however, that certain factors that are prevalent because of Covid-19, such as an increased amount of time spent in isolation, might increase the rate of depression, self-harm and suicide.
There has also been research conducted that shows there could be a correlation between unemployment and an increase in rates in suicide.
The Guardian recently made the incredible statement that 45,000 people commit suicide a year worldwide because of joblessness.
While the NHS did endeavor to make it clear that correlation does not equal causation, in 2008 during the economic recession there was a recorded spike in suicides rates, this alone says a lot about how a lack of job security and support for the most vulnerable can adversely affect one’s mental health.
The NHS says that there are a wide range of factors and complicating circumstances that lead people to commit suicide.
They suggest that some of these factors could include but are not limited to; ‘falling income, zero-hours contracts, job insecurity and debt’.
The risk of all these factors has most certainly increased due to COVID-19, as many people have either been furloughed or have lost their jobs entirely and are now seeking Universal Credit (Which has a whole host of its own problems).
However, this does not mean every person in that situation is suffering from poor mental health, and those who are do not have to suffer in silence. There are things both individually and collectively we can do to help.
The Mental Health Foundation recently released a few tips for looking after your mental health while in lockdown, we’ve outlined a few of the most important ones below:
- Create a routine: Read more, exercise between watching movies, and have a balanced diet. Do things that are healthy but also fun that you enjoy doing.
- Avoid rumours and speculation: Falling down a twitter thread hole can be one of the worst ways to spend an afternoon. Always make sure to take breaks from social media and get your information from reputable sites, not strangers with 280 characters.
- Keep connected: Get in touch with those who matter most to you. Talk, call, or text your friends and family on a regular basis.
- Talk to your children: If you’re a parent, you may also have the added stresses of looking after little ones. It’s a confusing time for them as well. Work together, talk through their anxieties, and look after each other.
- Be aware of your limits: Above all look after yourself, understand and acknowledge when you might be stressed or under pressure, and make sure to check in with people who can help.