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A survey following the last period of lockdown and school closures revealed negative effects on people’s wellbeing including low mood and increased loneliness. While most people tried to protect ...

A survey following the last period of lockdown and school closures revealed negative effects on people’s wellbeing including low mood and increased loneliness.

While most people tried to protect their wellbeing by engaging in healthy behaviours such as healthy eating, staying physically active and avoiding drugs and alcohol we know a small proportion increased their alcohol consumption and unhealthy eating. Those that increased alcohol and unhealthy eating experienced greater negative impacts on their wellbeing.

As we enter another period of national lockdown, Warwickshire County Council is using the findings from the COVID-19 impact survey, which asked residents to share the effects of the pandemic on their lives, to inform its response to support mental health.  

Findings showed that the wellbeing of most people in our communities had been negatively affected but that the impact on young people, women and those with pre-existing mental health conditions was greatest. To ensure residents can take steps to protect themselves physically and mentally the council is reminding everyone of the support that is available.   

A new campaign Take 5 encourages people to take time each day to focus on themselves and their wellness, it introduces residents to 5 Ways to Wellbeing – easy tips to get more out of life, reduce anxiety and increase mindfulness. More details are coming soon.

The county council is also signposting to a range of support services and advice online. In line with the COVID-19 guidance, there are still support services available including, Wellbeing for Warwickshire hubs, Togetherall and Warwickshire Safe Havens. A comprehensive list of the services available can be found on the county council website here: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/mentalhealth  

The pages also offer tips and advice on coping during this uncertain time, including wellbeing suggestions following the five ways to wellbeing; practical advice about how to look after your mental wellbeing while staying at home from Every Mind Matters and information on what Warwickshire libraries can offer, with suggested e-books for mental health and self-care for young people.    

Also available is http://dearlife.org.uk/ which has been created by health and social care partners across Coventry and Warwickshire to help people find the tools to maintain and improve their wellbeing and the wellbeing of others. It offers a wealth of information about where to get help in a crisis, advice on how to maintain good mental health and ways to support others in need.  

Warwickshire County Councillor Les Caborn, portfolio holder for Adult Social Care and Health, said: “The survey results were a stark reminder of how tough people found life in lockdown and we must be mindful of this as we enter a new period of tight restrictions with the compounded pressure of winter and fatigue.   

“Around 2500 people responded to the survey and over half the respondents reported feeling lonely, 1 in 3 people said they were eating more and 20% reported that they were drinking more alcohol and we want to address this.  

A high priority for the council is that our residents still have access to mental health services in Warwickshire.   

“These are trying times for us all, and it is important now more than ever to find ways to lead healthy, happy and independent lives. It is important to remember that everyone reacts differently to different events – we hope the broad resources we have available will mean we can all find ways to cope in such trying times.   

Look after yourselves and your loved ones, be safe and remember: stay home and save lives.”  

The following local and national mental health support and helplines are also available:  

  • Coventry Safe Haven: 6-11pm every day; 07921 876065 or email [email protected]   
  • Chat Health is a free service that enables 11 – 18 year olds across Coventry and Warwickshire to send confidential SMS text messages to School Nurses who will provide impartial advice and support.   
  • For Warwickshire, text 07507 331 525  
  • For Coventry, text 07507 331 949  

 

Published: 14th January 2021