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World Mental Health Day falls on 10th October every year and serves as an important reminder of the need to reflect on our wellbeing. This year, it is more important than ever as the pandemic continues to affect our lives in so many ways. And so we are encouraging everyone to check in on their friends, family, neighbours, and colleagues. Read on to discover some of the most common mental health issues arising from the covid crisis and how you can offer support to friends who may need it most.
Cut off from the world during lockdown, shielding, or self-isolation – loneliness has had a huge effect on many people. It is also continuing to affect those missing out on important milestones or precious time with loved ones, and remote workers craving social interaction with colleagues in the office.
If sustained for a long period, chronic loneliness can have a huge impact on an individual’s mental health. They may feel overwhelmingly isolated, they may lose confidence in themselves, and they may find themselves unable to connect with people on an intimate level. The idea of socialising after a prolonged period of loneliness may cause the individual anxiety, triggering the stress hormone, cortisol, and leaving the person feeling exhausted.
It is therefore vital to check in regularly with friends and let them know they are not alone – if not in person, then by text, phone call, or video. Help keep their mind active by suggesting new hobbies and pastimes, or encourage them to volunteer or accompany them to a group to meet new people.
So much about life in the pandemic has been unsettled, so it is only natural that most people have felt anxiety to a certain extent over the past year. Fears surrounding the effects of covid, nervousness about another wave – it is all completely understandable.
However, if left unmanaged, prolonged anxiety can lead to health issues, such as sleep disruption, digestive problems, lowered immune system, and it could even increase the risk of heart disease.
If you notice that anxiety is starting to overwhelm a friend, it is important that they talk to someone. Make sure they know you are always available, should they ever feel a need to talk through a problem. If you think they are struggling to concentrate or deal with everyday tasks, or it is escalating into panic attacks, it is essential that they speak to a health professional who will be able to treat the condition through therapy, medication, or a combination of the two.
Most people would agree that life is a juggle, but for many people, the past year has taken multi-tasking to the next level! Working from home whilst home-schooling the children has left many feeling burnt out. Add to the mix financial worries and doubts over job security, and it’s easy to see how stress can take over someone’s life.
Tension headaches, difficulty sleeping and concentrating are tell-tale signs that a friend may be under stress. If left untreated, prolonged stress can lead to a wide range of health issues including depression, high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.
Look out for the signs and offer practical help if you can to help lighten the load. Offer to babysit their children for a couple of hours, recommend a yoga class, or encourage them to take a sick day to focus on getting their mental health back on track.
It’s good to talk
If you think someone you know is suffering with their mental health, the key thing is to let them know that they can talk openly with you. Listen without judgement and support them when needed. Should they need to discuss anything with a medical professional, appointments are available with our team of highly trained experts – just email email@example.com or call 0131 225 5656.
Halfway round the world from home (Australia) and really needed a GP. YourGP provided excellent prompt service. Made a call at 10.15am and was seen by a very caring doctor at 11.30am. Great ambassadors for Edinburgh.