How to find lockdown mental health help
Niels Eék, psychologist and co-founder of mental health and self-development platform, Remente, provides some guidance on finding mental health support during lockdown.
Being separated from friends and family, as well as worrying about our health, can cause us stress or contribute to a decline in our mental wellbeing. This has led many people to consider seeking professional support.
Time to seek help?
Research carried out by online consultation platform, Kara Connect, found that 24 per cent of young Britons felt that their experience in lockdown has made them consider seeking therapy.
Whether in lockdown or not, some people may feel that they face their own personal barriers to seeking help for their mental health. Reluctance to ask for help can stem from feelings of embarrassment or shame around how they are feeling, but it is important to acknowledge that seeking professional help is a positive step towards tackling these symptoms. Others may simply lack information on what constitutes a mental health issue, as well as when and where it is best to look for support.
If you feel intimidated by the idea of talking to a professional about your mental health, it may be helpful to talk to family or a friend who can provide encouragement as you look for support.
Support from home
Alongside professional support, there are also methods and techniques that we can make use of to manage our own mental health in lockdown.
Taking some time out of the day to focus on our wellbeing can be hugely beneficial for our mental health. A study at the Harvard School of Public Health found that 85 per cent of people who spent a few minutes being mindful by meditating and focusing on the present were more successful at managing stress and anxiety.
Journaling can also boost self-awareness by encouraging some form of reflection each day, meaning it is easier to spot triggers or sources of stress in your day-to-day life. Becoming more mindful is also a good way to help you realise when you need external support with your mental health, rather than ignoring issues as they arise.
Try some digital resources
If you are unsure how to approach mental wellbeing as a whole, digital resources such as Remente can provide some guidelines and courses to get you started. On top of this, anyone who is nervous about talking about their mental health or struggles to find the time to seek professional support could be suited to other digital tools.
Many therapists have moved their practice online, making their services available through safe and secure video conferencing tools like Kara Connect, the consultation platform allowing health and welfare practitioners to connect with their clients via video.
Thorbjorg Vigfusdóttir, Educational Psychologist and Founder and CEO of Kara Connect, is an advocate of digitising the point of access to therapeutic support and believes that in doing so, more people will be able to access the support that they need: “Lockdown has highlighted how useful video-consultations can be as an alternative to in-person sessions, but online therapy will continue to be a vital support for many people beyond lockdown. Obstacles of distance, time or stigma around mental health treatment may deter some people from seeking professional help, and for those people, the option of digital consultations can be an important lifeline.”
For some, seeking help can feel like an admission of "weakness", when in reality it should be viewed as a sign of strength. Taking positive action to tackle issues and getting help as early as possible is the best way to make sure that things do not escalate. Many GPs are running video appointments, so contacting your GP virtually is a good first step to finding the help that you need.
Lockdown has been a lonely time for lots of people, but there is still support available for those who need it. Always remember that seeking support for mental health problems is as important as seeking help for physical ones, and make use of mental health resources when you need them—such as this list of helplines that is available via the NHS website.
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