Column: We’re all in this together and can all make a difference on mental health
I’ve never been a fan of New Year. I’ve always found it to be overrated, overpriced, driven with false hope and promise of what the new year ahead will bring.
More so now though, it fills me with sadness and aids as a reminder to those who are sadly no longer with us, kind of like ‘well that’s another year since you’ve been gone’.
This year though, I decided to step outside of the norm and actually went out.
Me and my daughter, with friends, went to a lovely hotel event, got all dressed up with posh frocks and what should have been an event with over 100 people in attendance saw only 38 people attend on the night. Why? That dreaded virus.
It was the same when we went to London on Christmas Eve: bars and restaurants empty, streets and trams with few people about.
I keep having to remind myself what year it is and that we are now in the throes of year three of this virus and what can be described as nothing more than an absolute mess.
My biggest and continued fear is the impact that all of this is having on the mental health of us all.
I have started the New Year already hearing stories of young people not being accepted into services following referral, despite being in crisis, domestic abuse, suicide attempts and lives lost, people awaiting assessment for possible cancer diagnoses, and then we have the lingering vaccine mandating that has already impacted on those working in care homes.
Even though we are hearing very little about this, it is then due to be rolled out to the wider social care sector and NHS in April.
Whatever your thoughts on this may be, this will have a huge impact on somebody’s career, life and even the difference between them keeping their home or losing it.
It’s a disastrous domino effect waiting to happen.
There is no easy answer to all of this, and there is no quick fix.
All of these factors impact on our mental wellbeing and can easily cause mental ill health.
We know that mental health services are not fit for purpose, haven’t been for a long time, and have been further impacted upon by the ongoing pandemic. This is not just locally, this is a national issue.
So we have to take some ownership and play our part. Yes we can – and should – lobby our MP, sign a petition, make a complaint, but we can also start at the very beginning.
We need to catch people before they get to the point of crisis.
We are all in this together and we can all make a difference. So, if you are going to make one new year’s resolution this year, let it be these three words.
Talk, ask, listen.
It’s OK to not be OK.
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