Carolyn Barber of Portsmouth’s Good Mental Health Cooperative, and local researcher and social entrepreneur, explores what we know about the impact of Covid-19 on mental health, and invites readers to be part of an online discussion this week to share their experiences.
International research is now telling us a lot more about the impact of Covid-19 on our mental health, and the picture is not good. What does the research tell us about those who are less stressed, depressed or anxious? There’s a lot we can’t control about the current situation, so what can we control?
For example, research from 28 countries conducted in March found that the more people used social media, the more fearful they were. Frequent social media users in China were more likely to feel both depressed and anxious at the same time. So consider putting limits on your use of Facebook.
Does that mean ignorance is bliss? Definitely not! It’s about finding the right sources of information. The research tells us that being informed helps to reduce uncertainty and anxiety. Its all about finding the right balance as overloading ourselves with information can cause more worry. People who spent three or more hours a day focusing on COVID-19 were more anxious. So make sure you take good long breaks from news and social media.
Practising basic safety and hygiene can also help with your mental health. Research from China has found that people who engaged in proper hand washing, wore masks, and avoided sharing utensils tended to experience less depression, anxiety, stress, and PTSD.
It’s important to remember that we can’t ‘self-improve’ our way out of the pain and difficulties created by Covid-19. We’re going through a collective trauma and the task is to build our emotional resilience to pull us through this time. Life really is harder by a little bit or a lot, depending on your situation. Many of us are facing difficult feelings of fear, sadness, anger and loss, and this is all part of being human.
This week, you can join an online discussion on the impact of Covid-19 on our mental health, individually and collectively. Join us for this open dialogue discussion event on Zoom on Wednesday 19th August at 7pm – register here.
At the Good Mental Health Cooperative, we believe that connecting with others and informal arts and wellbeing learning activities are really important ways to take care of our mental health and build the emotional resilience we need to get though these difficult times.
Please click here to complete this very short survey on the future of the Mental Wealth Academy.
There is still time to sign up for the courses and view recorded sessions. although the programme will close at the end of August. Full details are available here.
Each week we share a range of strategies and resources to help you build mental and emotional resilience during the Covid19 crisis. This is just as important as our physical strength if we were planning to run a marathon! And just like our physical health, taking care of our mental health is about establishing good habits as part of our regular routine.
We’ve been hard at work updating the Resources section of the Good Mental Health Coop website – these are resources you can use to build your mental and emotional resilience during these testing times. The Resources are divided under 4 themes – Meet, Relax, Learn, Create – please take some time to browse and check them out.
You can also find information about local support and services available if you’re feeling emotionally or psychologically distressed. Click here for Resources for Resilience.
This article was originally published as a newsletter. Check out the Good Mental Health Coop website, where you can sign up to receive Carolyn’s weekly mental health updates by email, and find out more about the amazing work the Coop do. You can also follow the Coop on Twitter and Facebook, and you can read all of Carolyn’s articles for S&C here.