As we approach nearly a month since Belgravia undertook temporary, government mandated closures of our centres, many of us are still struggling with the persistent lack of connection with our colleagues and loved ones. Many companies across the country are facing a similar issue to varying degrees. Government subsidies promise some reprieve from financial strains on households but isolation and uncertainty remain major mental health concerns for many of us living in lockdown.
In recent weeks, we have focused on supporting one’s own mental health and that of our children and young people. This week, we turn our attention to supporting our partners and relatives who would also be feeling the repercussions of possible job loss, reduced social interactions and increased stress from isolation.
Why is it important to stay connected?
People are social creatures and we thrive on human contact. The more time we spend at home in self-isolation, the more important it should be to schedule regular catch ups online or on the phone with our loved ones. This is especially important for people who live alone. Psychologist Sabina Read recommends putting time in your diary every day to speak to someone you care about. “We under-estimate sometimes the comfort that phone contact can bring, you can still feel a sense of connection and closeness even if it’s not face-to-face,” Ms Read said.
If you know of any friends or loved ones who may struggle through social isolation, reach out to them with a phone call, an email or a note under their door. Studies have shown that the elderly, most of whom lack proficiency with social media or other modern methods of staying in touch, will find self-isolation for extended periods of time particularly challenging.
Signs to look out for in loved ones
If any of your loved ones displays the behavior or symptoms below, they may be suffering from depression and you should encourage them to seek help as soon as possible:
- Feelings of sadness, hopelessness or emptiness
- Angry outbursts or irritability over seemingly minor matters
- Insomnia or sleeping too much
- Noticeable changes in appetite
- Trouble thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- Frequent or recurrent mention of death or suicidal thoughts
How you can help
Being generous with your time helps us feel valued and connected. If you’re tech savvy, help others learn to use technology to communicate with their loved ones. Text or message someone who might be feeling lonely with a recipe or book suggestion, or volunteer in your local community to offer support to the less fortunate.
Follow the links below for more helpful advice on supporting loved ones during the pandemic.