Exeter, Devon UK • Jul 19, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
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Mental Health in Lockdown

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Mental Health in Lockdown

Livia Cockerell discusses the impact of continued lockdowns on people’s mental health, and suggests some ways to boost your mood

On 5th November, England entered a second national lockdown in order to protect the physical health of the most vulnerable within our society. However, for many the question has arisen as to whether this decision is to the detriment of our mental health. As we slowly attempt to recover from the calamity of this global pandemic, do we risk falling into a whole new crisis – a mental health crisis?

 Following the first lockdown, the charity Mind revealed that approximately 60% of adults felt that they had experienced a decline in their mental health, and there are fears that these statistics are on the incline. As the weather becomes colder and daylight hours shorter, there are concerns that feelings of depression and anxiety will be heightened during this second lockdown. On top of the anxieties of isolation, furlough schemes and the future of this ‘new normal’, many will also be contending with Seasonal Affected Disorder (or “Winter Depression”).

“We know the cost of these restrictions, the damage they do, the impact on jobs, and on livelihoods, and on people’s mental health.” This was the Prime Minister’s passing reference to the issue of mental health in his speech on 31st October in which he confirmed the second national lockdown. Understandably, there is an element of apprehension concerning the lack of governmental regard and investment in supporting people’s mental health during this period. Those who are working on the frontline have already expressed their alarm regarding this matter, with the London Ambulance Service tweeting: “Sadly the number of suicide and attempted suicide incidents we attend are increasing.” Tragically, this has been a particular travesty amongst students upon their return to university in September.

‘Meet a friend for a socially distanced walk’, Exeter. Photo by Silvan Arnet on Unsplash

It is crucial that we protect our mental health just as much as we do our physical health. We must acknowledge the facts. The effects of this pandemic are not solely due to the physical virus, but also the mental pressures that many people are contending with as a result of isolation and lockdown. If you are struggling with your mental health during this period, there are people who can help. Talk to your friends and family about how you are feeling, talk to your personal tutor or a trusted member of staff about support offered at the university, talk to your GP. Yes, we are aware that staying home during this lockdown will save lives but protecting our mental health saves lives too.

For those moments you are feeling down or are struggling with the current situation, here are some great self-care ideas from Exeter students that will help to boost your mood:

  • Meet a friend for a socially distanced walk (the Quay is a great spot!)
  • Do something creative! Whether it’s painting, embroidering, or baking banana bread – doing something creative will result in a great sense of accomplishment!
  • Cook a nutritious meal for yourself
  • Exercise (there are plenty of free at-home workouts on Youtube!)
  • Give a friend or family member a phone call
  • Reorganise your room or workspace
  • Create a routine – this will enable you to structure your day and is proven to increase your levels of productivity.

Cover Photo by Katerina Jerabkova on Unsplash

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