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Your mind, your mental health 

Coronavirus has had a significant impact on mental health. Step forward the Every Mind Matters campaign from Public Health England, as Claire Muffett-Reece explains  

Being told to stay home for weeks at a time to control COVID-19 is a stressful time for all. At the time of writing we’re three months into the latest lockdown, and the stresses and strains are beginning to show. From loneliness and the worry of how families can make ends meet financially, to boredom and the impact of not being able to visit people outside of your bubble; supporting
the nation’s mental health has never been so important. That’s where Public Health England (PHE) has stepped up, releasing a new campaign, Every Mind Matters, to support people when it comes to looking after their mental health and wellbeing.

What mental health issues are people experiencing?

PHE launched the Every Mind Matters campaign. A survey to look at the impact coronavirus had on adults’ mental wellbeing across the country found half of adults are more worried during the latest lockdown than in March 2020.

It also found that 49% felt that the pandemic has impacted negatively on their mental health and wellbeing – that’s 53% of women and 45% of men. What’s more, of those surveyed, 46% experienced more anxiety, 44% more stress, 34% an increase in problems sleeping and 46% a low mood.

What are the reasons for decreased mental health?

It comes as no surprise to read that of those surveyed 56% found their mental health was affected by missing their friends and family. Loneliness was another factor (33%), while 53% felt uncertain about the future. 27% were concerned about their financial and employment worries; and 53% worried about their family’s safety and health during the crisis.

Where does the Every Mind Matters come in?

A nationwide campaign, Every Mind Matters supports people taking action when it comes to looking after their mental health and wellbeing. Also helping others such as friends and family, it encourages people to get a free NHS-approved Your Mind Plan direct from the Every Mind Matters website (www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters)

Produced in the form of a simple, five question quiz, you’ll be asked about your mood, your sleep, your anxiety, your stress and if you’ve been worrying about anything in particular. From this you’ll then receive a personalised action plan with practical tips to help you deal with any of the areas you’re currently struggling with, alongside the option to have your plan emailed across to you. It could be something as simple as making time to chat to friends and family once keep active and lower stress levels in the process. It may also recommend you download the Feeling Good app; which uses relaxation, cognitive behavioural therapy and resilience-building techniques to help improve positivity, self-esteem and self-confidence.

However, depending on how you’re feeling the quiz also offers a wide range of support, with a list of phone numbers and websites for people to talk to, such as your local 24/7 mental health crisis line or the Samaritans.

How else does the Every Mind Matters website help?

The Every Mind Matters COVID-19 hub also includes practical tips and support on how adults can deal with uncertainty; how to cope with money and job worries and how to look after both their own and their family’s mental wellbeing while staying at home. Supported by a coalition of leading mental health charities, including Mind, Samaritans, Young Minds and Rethink, the research also revealed differences in the negative mental health impacts the pandemic is having on younger people. Those aged 18 to 34 are more likely to report that COVID-19 caused more stress (51%), with 43% admitting it made them feel lonely. To support this age group, the campaign sought the support of celebrities including footballer Wayne Bridge, Bridgerton actress Phoebe Dynevor, presenter Vick Hope and Celebs Go Dating receptionist Tom Read Wilson; all of which have spoken openly about their own personal experiences of mental health – plus the steps they’re taking to look after their own wellbeing.

But that’s not all: Every Mind Matters also offers information and videos to help young people look after their own mental health, alongside providing dedicated support to help parents and guardians look after the mental wellbeing of the children and young people they care for.

DON’T SUFFER IN SILENCE: THE NHS IS HERE TO HELP

For those struggling with anxiety or depression, NHS talking therapies are here for you. The NHS mental health services have been open throughout the pandemic and continue to stay open during lockdown. Speak to your GP for a referral, or you can self-refer via nhs.uk/talk.

NHS mental health staff can provide care via phone or online from the comfort of your home. These services are free – and confidential – and are a great way to get effective help.

CONTACTS

NHS: Find your local NHS 24/7 helpline on nhs.uk/urgentmentalhealth

SAMARITANS: If you or someone you know has been affected by mental health issues, visit samaritans.org

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