The national lockdown in the UK that was imposed at the end of March was for very strong public health reasons, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t adverse effects to our mental health and wellbeing.
A study conducted by the University of Glasgow, which has been regularly surveying 3,077 adults around the UK since the outbreak of the pandemic, has published its first results, exploring how the first six weeks of the country’s lockdown affected our mental health.
It found that this period had a “major impact” on our mental health, with one of the most striking findings that suicidal thoughts increased by 9.8 per cent during this six-week timeframe.
The study also found that women, young people (aged 18 to 29), those with pre-existing mental health conditions and those from socially disadvantaged backgrounds typically struggled more with their mental health during lockdown than other sub-groups of the population.
Broadly speaking, however, the researchers found that 26.1 per cent of people experienced “at least moderate levels of depressive symptoms” between 31 March and 11 May this year.
Professor Rory O’Connor, who is leading the study and who is chair in health psychology at the university’s Institute of Health and Wellbeing, said that there is a general acknowledgement that Covid-19 will have a “profound and long-lasting” impact on the nation’s mental health and wellbeing.
“As we move through this pandemic, investigating the trajectory of mental health and wellbeing is crucial to giving us a better understanding of the challenges people face during this difficult time,” he said.
The research is a collaboration with Samaritans, Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) and the Mindstep Foundation. All of these organisations have stressed the importance of providing support for those who need it as the pandemic progresses.
The Metro recently reported that second-wave anxiety is a condition that many people are currently suffering from.
This refers to the anxiety caused by concerns about a second wave of the Covid-19 virus, and is likely to be exacerbated by the prospect of local lockdowns around the country.
Dr Becky Spelman, clinical director of The Private Therapy Clinic, offered some advice for anyone who feels as though their anxiety levels are currently spiking. She recommended focusing as much as possible on the areas of your life that you can control, which means setting goals and focusing on hobbies may help some people.
Mindfulness is another suggestion, and particularly the technique of grounding, which helps bring your thoughts back to the present moment rather than focusing on the future.
If you’re keen to develop your own mindfulness practice, you may be interested to learn that hypnotherapy can help to make it more accessible, allowing you to develop useful mindfulness skills more quickly.
This could be ideal if you’re starting to feel anxious and overwhelmed by the prospect of a second wave of Covid-19, as it will give you the tools to help you cope with what can feel like a very uncertain future.
If you’re interested in working with a mindful therapist online, contact me today to find out more about my techniques and how I can help you.