The affects of Covid-19 on the nation’s mental health will be deep and long lasting.  The lockdown has led to closure of schools, churches, and workplaces, leading to feelings of isolation, fear, loneliness, and stress.

Business are being urged to be aware of the impact of Covid-19 on their employees.  Measures that have been put in place to keep people safe may even exacerbate mental health conditions and will have a profound impact on the nation’s mental health long term.

The World Health Organisation has warned that the lockdown measures have, and will have serious consequences on people’s mental health, "Mental health should be part of the public health response to Covid-19," stressed mental health expert from WHO Aiysha Malik.

This view is shared by many mental health practitioners who fear the longer the lockdown continues, more and more people will need some form of psychological support.

The uncertainty, anxiety, and fear of becoming ill or seeing a loved one become ill, the loss of normal routines, the difficulties of social isolation, and in many cases the disruption to education.  Many households do not have access to outside space and are finding the confinement very difficult.  We are already aware of an increase in domestic violence and child abuse.

There is concern that lockdown is having a disproportion impact on our young people’s mental health.  In addition to general concerns, many of our young people have had exams postponed or cancelled, this may affect their overall results and their choice of University or course.  Already feeling quite disenfranchised following Brexit, concerns about rapidly increasing unemployment will discourage many from going on to further education.  

We know that this is a worrying time for everyone with lots of uncertainty and potentially difficult choices for both employees and employers.  The Mental Health at Work coronavirus toolkit  brings together a selection of helpful online resources to support people at work with their mental health during this period.  

The first survey investigating the impact of Covid-19 on our young people’s mental health, particularly those with existing mental health conditions reveals the pressure that the crisis has put on young people and support services. This is a snapshot of young people’s views and experiences in this rapidly changing situation. The challenges they face, the concerns they have and their ability to access support may change considerably over the coming weeks.  This is likely to have an impact on the lives of our young people for a very long time.  See the full report here. 

https://youngminds.org.uk/media/3708/coronavirus-report_march2020.pdf      

Further sources of information and guidance:

https://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/news/articles/employers-must-step-up-mental-health-support-during-coronavirus

https://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/mental-health-at-work/coronavirus-supporting-yourself-and-your-team/#