There’s no doubt the pandemic has caused a great deal of suffering for a great many people. In November last year, Mind reported that more people have experienced a mental health crisis during the pandemic than ever previously recorded.
Yet there is one silver lining to this colossal cloud. After moving in the right direction over the last few years, it feels as though the taboo around talking about mental health is finally breaking, with more people feeling able to speak about their struggles without shame or embarrassment. And Mental Health Awareness Week (May 10-16) is a great time to recognise that.
“The pandemic has given people a forum to be able to discuss things that formerly I think they would have had much more difficulty discussing,” says Dr Robin Hart, psychologist and co-founder of mental health app Companion. “It has de-shamed it and allowed people to own that they were having difficulties.”
Celine Erorh, assistant psychologist and founder of social enterprise Celutions, believes life in lockdown has “forced people to acknowledge that maybe their feelings have been different, or maybe their moods have been different; things they would otherwise maybe put to the back of their minds.”
While previously a ‘keep calm and carry on’ mantra could often prevail, now many are recognising they can’t just continue silently when their lives have been so radically altered.
“It would be very odd not to have some difficulties with coping with [a pandemic],” says Hart. “And of course, there are around 130,000 families in the UK who are coping with it in a very different way, because they’ve lost somebody.”
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