Will Mental Health Be The Next Pandemic?
Coronavirus has finally slipped from the headlines, and the last remaining restrictions have been lifted. However, the psychological scars left by the pandemic have yet to be fully revealed. The upheaval caused by the threat of a deadly disease and the lockdowns was difficult for even the most resilient of us to handle.
For those of us who are prone to anxiety and stress, the effects have been even more severe. Many people rely on predictability and routine to maintain their sense of wellbeing, and understandably this has been sorely tested over the last two years.
Writing for Mental Health Today, Sean Duggan, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation’s Mental Health Network, said: “In the last two years life has changed, there is no doubt about that.”
He added: “We now often talk in terms of pre and post-pandemic, pre-pandemic being the ‘before’ to an ‘after’ that has visited lockdown, loneliness, bereavement, and latterly huge financial strain on our society, disproportionately impacting the most vulnerable and putting enormous pressure on our collective mental wellbeing.”
The mental health services of the NHS are strained to breaking point, with long waiting lists, and patients presenting with more severe conditions. For example, referrals for young people with eating disorders have increased by 72% in the last two years.
It’s never advisable to suffer in silence if you have a mental health problem, but with overstretched services, many people feel there is no alternative. So is there anything people faced with problems such as anxiety, stress, and depression can do to mitigate the effects while they wait for treatment?
Family and friends can be a great source of support for some people, while others find solace in exercise or hobbies. Alternative or complementary therapies, such as mindfulness, meditation, and breathing techniques also benefit many people. Online mindfulness therapy can help to guide you through the process, if you want an extra helping hand.