May 8, 2021

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How the lockdown improved our mental health


The lockdown has had a disastrous impact on many aspects of our lives, not least in terms of mental health.

For some, anxiety has caused or exacerbated depression – a study from Exeter and Kings College London this year found that feeling lonely appears as a major factor linked to worsening symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Mental health charity Mind also revealed that half of adults felt their general health worsened in 2020, with many of them experiencing mental health issues for the first time.

However, in the midst of such grim statistics, a counter-narrative has emerged. Depression, for some, appears to be becoming more manageable.

The lockdown has had a disastrous impact on many aspects of our lives, not least in terms of mental health

It’s known as “ lockdown relief, ” and it seems to some people that forced interruptions from normal routines and stress have been helpful.

A University of Manchester study of the number of people seeking mental health assistance for the first time found that during the first lockdown, numbers for depression were down by 43 percent, and anxiety by 48 percent, compared to similar periods during the previous period. Decade.

While this may reflect reduced access to mental health services, the researchers said they could not rule out lower rates of mental illness.

Dr Natasha Pilani, consultant psychiatrist at The Priory Clinic in Roehampton, says: “ We as humans usually enjoy socializing for our mental health and sense of well-being.

But for some people, the lack of contact means that they do not feel pressured and exposed to those aspects of normal life that the rest take for granted but which affect their situation.

It's known as `` lockdown relief, '' and it seems to some people that forced interruptions from normal routines and stress have been helpful.  People are seen in London's Trafalgar Square in May 2020

It’s known as “ lockdown relief, ” and it seems to some people that forced interruptions from normal routines and stress have been helpful. People are seen in London’s Trafalgar Square in May 2020

When you are in depression, any contact with people can be stressful for some. But if you close, you can filter away from it all. So the symptoms can be easier to control.

Toby Ingham, an Oxford-based psychotherapist, agrees. “It is often the interactions with the outside world that cause anxiety and stress,” he says. While in lockdown, taking a break from the outside world was the rule we had to follow so we couldn’t blame or shame ourselves for actually doing our duty to protect each other and the NHS. “

Permission to “take a breather” from the outside world might also explain research by a team at University College London who surveyed more than 74,000 people and found that despite an initial decline in happiness before the lockdown last March, well-being has risen throughout the year. In the past few weeks of April, anxiety levels have decreased in people with or without mental disorders.

Amidst these grim statistics, a counter-narrative has emerged.  Depression, for some, appears to be becoming more manageable

Amidst these grim statistics, a counter-narrative has emerged. Depression, for some, appears to be becoming more manageable

Another reason why people with mental health problems might get a boost is that they no longer feel isolated, suggests Dr. Elena Turoni, psychologist and co-founder of the Psychology Clinic in Chelsea.

Depression can make us feel very lonely. When people around us go out and have a good time, it can add up to that. On lockdown, we were all in the same position. You could argue that there was a clear and specific reason for our frustration. This can provide a sense of relief for those who struggle in normal times.

Jason Ward, chief psychotherapist at the DBT Clinic London, said that some of his depressed clients have shown improvement due to an increased desire to socialize with others, now that they can do so online.

Zoom sessions developed through lockdown have proven invaluable to those with severe depression who were previously reluctant to attend in person.

Group therapy and skills sessions are now available to almost everyone, anywhere in the UK, and for a number of my clients, contact with others has enhanced a sense of community and reciprocity, and they have realized that those group sessions, along with personal therapy, provide great insight and support, As he says.

With the relaxation of restrictions, Dr. Turoni says, it is essential to take gradual steps when merging again so that you do not feel overwhelmed.

And try to determine what triggered the height of your symptoms – once you understand the origin of this feeling, you can start taking steps toward changing it.

“It’s about creating a meaningful and fulfilling life for you.”