The number of people stressed and at risk of slipping into mental ill health in Suffolk nearly doubled during lockdown
Independent mental health charity, Suffolk Mind, has released the results of a survey looking at the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on mental health in the county.
It reveals that during the lockdown period (March – June 2020) nearly half of people in Suffolk (46.3%) were not meeting their emotional needs on average, and therefore liable to stress and potential mental health issues. This compared to the year before lockdown when it was one in four people (24.2%).
Those that were unable to work, unemployed people and those who are gender non-binary were most likely to experience a significant decrease in wellbeing during the pandemic.
Abi a volunteer at Suffolk Mind found it a difficult few months: “Lockdown has been a complete struggle for me – I’ve not had anything to do, I can’t work due to a life lasting disability and I couldn’t see anyone. I struggle with the whole idea that there is something out there that can harm you, it panics me.
“I had nice things booked like holidays and events and they’ve been cancelled. I just don’t see the fun in life anymore, I don’t see joy; I feel as if I’m just existing in a world that is not very nice.
“I’ve never needed support for my mental health, but I am looking to access some through Suffolk Mind. I just need someone to talk to and discuss my worries.”
The research also showed that:
· 45% of people were not meeting the need for community, feeling connected to a group
· 46% of respondents were not feeling appreciated and valued
· 39% didn’t feel as if they had control and autonomy over their lives
Naomi Simons, Research and Evaluation Manager at Suffolk Mind, said: “As a county, our need to feel connected to a wider community, our need for status, and for control were, overall, the least well met on average during the pandemic.
“The fact that 45% of us that were not meeting the need for community could be explained by physical distancing measures, preventing us from meeting up with our friends and family, and leading to the cancellation of many organised group activities. This was particularly felt among younger people.
“Equally, 46% of respondents were not meeting their need for status or respect, which is about feeling appreciated and recognised. This could be due to the number of people not in active employment as a result of the pandemic; something which is also likely to have had an impact on meaning and purpose.
“Again, it’s perhaps not surprising that 39% didn’t feel as if they had control and autonomy over their lives, given none of us could predict what was going to happen next.”
Jon Neal, CEO of Suffolk Mind, said: “Nearly half of people in Suffolk struggled during lockdown and they could be knocking on the door of mental health services any day now looking to access support. But while this research highlights the great importance of mental health services in our county, it also points to some of the things we can all do to help keep mental ill health at bay.
“How can we get community groups up and running again, in a safe way, as soon as possible? What other opportunities can we create for people to get meaning and purpose in their lives, and to feel valued by their community? There is probably some unemployment on the horizon, what can we do to enable people to continue learning, and to be stretched and challenged so they meet the need for achievement?
“At Suffolk Mind we encourage people to look after themselves and others around them by meeting emotional needs. To help people who are struggling we are continuing to make available on our website free resources and advice.
“It is also important to continue working together across the system, with, for example, the Suffolk Says Thanks campaign. This is all about encouraging people to appreciate and thank each other for the small things in life.”
Have a look around our website or call us on 03001116000 if you are looking for support.
And visit SuffolkSaysThanks.com to join the campaign to show appreciation.
Access the full report here.
Author: Ellie Winch
Posted on: 21st August 2020