Connect with each other during lockdown to halt decline in mental health
Suffolk Mind has issued a plea to local people to write letters, telephone people they haven’t spoken to for a while, shout to neighbours over garden fences, or do whatever they can to connect with each other to try and halt the decline in our mental health due to lockdown.
For those that would like to participate, the charity is launching a Suffolk Mind PenPals scheme. People can write to Suffolk Mind and a volunteer will write back within two weeks or so. Please note, this service has now closed.
Suffolk Mind has released data that shows the proportion of the local population at risk of stress and mental ill health has more than doubled since this time a year ago – before the coronavirus pandemic.
More than half of us (55%) are not, on average, meeting our emotional needs – the key to avoiding stress and maintaining good mental health. And it may be people that have never experienced any kind of struggle before that are doing so for the first time.
Jon Neal, chief executive of Suffolk Mind, said: “We look at mental health through the emotional needs we all have that must be met to stay well. The biggest fall has been in feeling part of a wider community – this fell in the first lockdown, but has continued to fall.
“This may seem obvious, with people unable to see anyone else, but it’s the rate of decline that’s concerning us most. And with little certainty as to when the current lockdown will end, it means wellbeing is unlikely to recover for some time.
“Around two thirds of us now say we do not feel part of a wider community. An increasing number of us don’t feel that we have meaning and purpose in our lives, and more of us are feeling like we have no control, we’re not making choices for ourselves.”
Suffolk Mind has updated the resources on the Covid19 section of its website, providing more tips, videos, blogs and infographics to help people understand their mental health and enable them to do something to help.
We are also providing Suffolk’s Needs Met sessions to the public, a virtual training course with information about how people can meet their emotional needs to stay mentally well. To attend, people just need to sign up as a Friend of Suffolk Mind to receive a free access code.
“The one thing all of us can do is connect with another human being in a meaningful way. Write a letter, make a telephone call, have a conversation over a fence at a big distance. Do something to connect with people. You might not think you need it, but you probably do. And even if you don’t, there are plenty of people out there do.
“This should be our equivalent of clapping on a Thursday night to respect key workers. The need now is to connect with each other so we all feel part of a community again. We’ve got lots of resources on our website to inspire you with writing suggestions, toolkits and advice. And if you can’t think of someone to write to, write to us and we’ll write back.”