Much has been written about how coronavirus pandemic the deterioration of the global mental health crisis. This is not surprising – many of us have spent the last three months shuffling from our garden-less houses in the local Tesco metro and back. Some lost their jobs. Others lost friends or family members. Life became tinged with uncertainty, our responsibilities to eradicate and relationship to change. Although there was the silver lining for someepidemics usually are not known for their mental health benefits.
This is not just anecdotal. Mind statistics will be released today found that 65% of adults over the age of 25 and 75% of young people aged 13-24 with an existing mental health problem reported worse mental health problems during a pandemic. More than one in five adults with no experience poor mental health now say their mental health as poor or very poor. Those in social housing, it seemed, was particularly affected, more than half say that their mental health is now poor or very poor, while 67% of respondents believe that their mental health recently deteriorated.
But while the virus may eventually pass through vaccines, indicators of mental health are less clear. It’s not as if after the block ends, emotional well-being, everything will return to “neutral” level, whatever that means. As Dr Dominique Thompson, GP and mental health expert, points out, the mental health consequences of a pandemic are likely to far outlive the virus. “The difficulty is that he probably never exactly how it was before,” she says. “In the UK in particular, this will mean that a whole generation of people who have lost prematurely, at all different ages.”
“Then you have the impact on essential workers,” she continues. “Some of those who have experienced a potentially traumatic role. For others there was a division – educators who moved to retirement homesthe doctors and nurses that lived in the Parking lots. These extraordinary things that people do to help other people. But they have an impact. We don’t know yet what all this portends. Yes, there is the potential for long-term trauma, delayed grief reaction, for failure of exhaustion”.In other words: the reasons for the deterioration of mental health during a pandemic is multifaceted and extensive, but is unlikely to disappear overnight.
For those who do seek help that exist in the UK services sector in mental health is often not strong enough to embed, which can have severe consequences. “One of the four people we spoke to for our research said that during the pandemic they were not able to access services for mental health,” explains Megan Pennell, parliamentary and campaigns Manager at mind. “Because of the crisis, many local services were forced to close or reduce, or change the way they work. They can’t meet in person, and that may be the only contact with other people. Looking forward, we know that many of these organizations are experiencing problems in terms of financing, since the marathon is canceled and the closure of charity shops”.
I have it all written down, as it can make everything look hopeless. Services in the field of mental health underfunded and under stress to start (“we were starting from a losing position,” says Thompson) and it was before the pandemic. But the situation is not hopeless, just urgent. After the release of mental health indicators, mind, today urged the UK government to join the post-coronavirus recovery plan, which treats mental health with the same gravity as physical health. “We, and our colleagues in the voluntary sector, willing and able to work with colleagues at Westminster to make it happen,” says Paul farmer, chief Executive of mind, in a press release.
Ultimately, as before the pandemic, services for mental health need proper funding and real, tangible reform. The mind has identified five areas in which the UK government should focus and commit financing: investment in public services, the Protection of those most at risk and the decision inequalities faced by people blacks, Asians and other ethnic minorities, the reform of the law On mental health (“during the crisis we saw that a lot of people that have been saved in the settings that will not help them to recover,” explains Pennell), which provides a more adequate and flexible system of financial safeguards for those who cannot work due to mental health and better support children and young people.
“A lot of this is not new,” says Pennell. “These are things that we knew were still going on, and we urge the government to do [something about it] for a long time. The crisis just made it even more urgent and underscored the gaps that were there and are fundamental to help good people. Could be a second wave that comes at some point so we must learn the lessons to make sure that we are ready to protect the mental health of people in the long term.”
This article originally appeared on Vice UK.
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