Blogpost: Covid-19 and Mental Health Awareness Week

Health / Tue 19th May 2020 at 07:57am

By Chris Vince
Mental Health Ambassador for Harlow Council

THIS week is mental health awareness week and never has it been more important to recognise how much looking after your mental health matters. This is a terrible time not only for those people who have been directly affected by the Covid-19 crisis but for everyone in this country.

Clearly spending time away from families and loved ones is bound to have a negative effect on mental health and for those who already suffer from mental health issues then being isolated is only going to make things worse. However, there is help at hand and I would emphasise the importance of recognising now, and at any time, that it is okay not to be okay and that being able to talk about your mental health is hugely important. Sadly there is still a stigma involved with mental illness that means many people, even now, are not willing to speak out about their issues, instead they allow them to build up and build up making things worse.

I have been overwhelmed by the incredible supportive community spirit that exists in our town. There are so many organisations and charities such as West Essex Mind, Rainbow Services and Roots to well being who offer support to those people who are struggling.

I’d also encourage you to reach out to those people who are socially isolating and who may be feeling alone, either by a phone call or video call. I know how much chatting to my friends, even about things that have nothing to do with my mental well being (yes generally Star Trek and football) make a big difference to my frame of mind. Above all though, and I know I have quoted the late Caroline Flack a number of times in YourHarlow letters, “just be kind”. None of us know the issues that other people are facing and at this time this is true more than ever.

Keep well, stay safe and be kind.

Chris Vince

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