How Do We Manage Covid-19, a Recession and our Mental Health?

We’ve all read about and seen articles about the importance of looking after our mental health during the pandemic, but how do we deal with the financial worries of a recession at the same time? Carolyn Barber of Portsmouth’s Good Mental Health Cooperative, and local researcher and social entrepreneur, shares some top national and local resources that can help.

The Coronavirus lockdown measures have now officially pushed the UK into an economic recession following the biggest slump on record during April to June this year. A Government research briefing published in July 20202 said:

Consumers may be reluctant to return to ‘normal’ spending patterns. This may be due to health concerns but also perhaps due to concerns over their income. A key factor will be how high unemployment levels rise. Particularly important is how many employees currently furloughed will return to work and how many will become unemployed. Uncertainty may also dampen businesses’ inclination to invest.

Financial difficulties are a common cause of stress, anxiety and depression, and the stigma of debt means that people often don’t seek help. Essentials may be cut back such as heating or eating. The numbers of people being referred to foodbanks is just one indicator of this pressure, and during lockdown those already struggling with the pressures of insecure work, high rents and child care costs are likely to be worst affected by the economic impact of the pandemic.

It’s all too easy to get into a negative cycle whereby financial worries and uncertainty cause intense anxiety, made worse by cutting back on essentials or aggressive creditors. This in turn makes it harder to manage spending or debts, and harder too to ask for help. But help is exactly what’s needed, both with taking care of mental health, and with guidance about money and practical support to get through this incredibly difficult time.

Here are three weblinks to explore that can help:

  • Martin Lewis of Money Saving Expert fame has set up a charity which focuses on Money and Mental Health, campaigning for more support to help people access essential services, and get help with managing money.
  • The Money Advice Service offers free and independent advice, set up by the government. They offer a Money Navigator Tool in response to the impact of the coronavirus lockdown.
  • Turn2us is a national charity helping people when times get tough. They provide advice on benefits and access to financial support to help people get back on track.

Click here to find out more about Resources for Resilience – a series of online links to help you take care of your mental health, and local services if you’re based in Portsmouth.

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.

Additional resources

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.

Photo by Joslyn Pickens from Pexels.

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