COLUMN: MP Lucy Frazer highlights greater demand on mental health services throughout coronavirus pandemic
PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:49 21 May 2020
This week marks Mental Health Awareness Week, and perhaps now more than ever, there is a greater focus on taking care of our mental health and that of others.
There has undoubtedly been a greater demand for mental health services over the past several weeks.
Research undertaken by the Mental Health Foundation has revealed that one third of UK adults are concerned about their future finances and debt, as well as feeling stressed about future employment. These issues in particular can take a serious toll on both the mental and physical health of an individual.
With the majority of us working from home during the COVID outbreak, it is also important that we take steps to keep ourselves safe online whilst protecting our mental health.
This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week theme is kindness, and it has been fantastic to so many selfless volunteers in South East Cambridgeshire helping individuals and the wider community during the Coronavirus outbreak.
From ASDA employees in Wisbech doing shopping for elderly residents in their spare time to the many individuals calling vulnerable residents to make sure they’re not lonely, so many have dedicated their time to helping others.
The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Community Hub has received over 8500 direct requests for help and support – with 10 per cent of these focused on emotional wellbeing.
Last week I held a call with the co-ordinating members of the East Cambridgeshire groups and it was inspiring to hear about their work.
There are many incredible resources that can provide practical advice if you are struggling with your mental health.
Public organisations like Public Health England and charities like Mind advise coming up with a daily routine to maintain focus on confidence – so remembering to structure in regular breaks and goals.
Exercising and keeping active is particularly important, and finding the time to have a daily walk or take an online exercise class can reduce stress.
Despite lockdown, human contact remains important – keeping in touch with family and friends over the phone or via video calling to check in can go a long way in boosting mental health.
Further useful information and suggestions for helping others can be found on the NHS Every Mind Matters website: nhs/uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters and also at the Mental Health Foundation – mentalhealth.org.uk.
If you need to speak to someone Mind has a phoneline open from 9am-6pm, Monday to Friday on 0300 123 3393 and the Samaritans also have a free hotline – 116 123.
As we ease out of lockdown and look to getting back into a way of life that we recognise, it is important to look after our mental health and the good mental health of our friends and family.
Small acts of kindness can go a long way in brightening up someone’s day!
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