20 May 2020

Mental health awareness week: adjusting back to life after lockdown

In 100 years, when students look back on 2020 in their history textbooks, this will probably be remembered as a difficult period.

During the lockdown, many of us have been furloughed, separated from loved ones, suffering from illness, and bored. And most of us cannot wait to get back to normality, see our family and friends, and book a table at our favourite restaurant. But for others, the lockdown has been a rare opportunity to take a step back and focus on their mental state of mind. Today (Wednesday 20th) is the third day of mental health awareness week – a fantastic awareness set up by The Mental Health Foundation. And it is a reminder that being confined to our homes may not be awful for everyone.

Life in the UK means we work at full speed, often leaving ourselves 30 minutes to grab lunch and keeping one eye on our mobile while we spend time with our families. We are completely tuned in to hitting deadlines and working ourselves up over receiving likes on social media. So, it’s no wonder a massive 25% of the UK population experience a mental health problem each year. Unfortunately, the pressure of competition forces many of us to stay quiet about our mental health issues, to get promotions and avoid awkwardness. So, when the lockdown started eight weeks ago, lots of people finally got the time they needed to slow down, meditate, and get a good night’s sleep.

If you are one of these people, then we understand that getting back to the office and making plans may not be a cause for celebration. Maybe you liked the excuse of social distancing and the thought of meeting up with friends again is giving you anxiety. Or perhaps you have been suffering from addiction, and the longer you were at home, the more you’ve been able to open up to your loved ones.

If you want to understand more about who around you is suffering and how you can help, then Mental Health Awareness Week, founded by The Mental Health Foundation, is a great place to start. But trying to absorb it all in one week is like a doctor to teach someone all about physical health in the same amount of time. Diabetes, broken bones, eczema and strokes are all physical conditions that vary in severity, science, and cure. And it’s the same with mental health. There are hundreds of different illnesses that you may not notice and it’s impossible to learn them all in seven days. Sometimes these mental conditions can be so debilitating that people can attempt to end their life – and other times, they hide it behind drug abuse or drinking. It’s important to recognise these signs as we start to shift back into normality after the Coronavirus pandemic. But give yourself time to understand what mental health means and how it can drive people to addiction.

When we have a cure for Covid-19 and our laws relax, it will be a joyous occasion for most of us. But remember that numerous people will dread the prospect of getting back on public transport, heading off to work each day and falling back into a routine. So, keep the conversations going throughout the year and help people adapt back into the demanding arms of work. And if you are worried about making the shift back to a life after lockdown, especially if it involves addiction, then please get in touch so we can help you through the transition.

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Our patients’ health takes priority during the COVID-19 pandemic and our doors remain open. To read about our commitment to patient and staff safety and how to keep yourself safe during the lockdown, click here!