As part of one of our new Instagram Story formats, Have Your Say, we asked people if they felt lockdown had impacted their mental health negatively over the past few months, with a total of 98,515 (72.93 percent) agreeing that it had, compared to the 36,559 (27.07 percent) who said the opposite.
The pandemic has been affecting people in many different ways, with mental health issues relating to everything from falling unwell or infecting others through to changes at work or with socialising.
In our poll, which saw 1.5million votes overall and also quizzed you guys about your thoughts on pubs reopening last weekend, one person said they were in need of a 'mental pick me up' after not hanging out with friends for such a long period of time.
A second Instagrammer said: "My mental health has been seriously affected by gyms being shut, gyms should open sooner [than pubs]."
Someone else said they wouldn't be heading out on Saturday as they felt 'too worried', while another said they'd found lockdown 'tough' but would still be sticking to open spaces to socialise.
One hospitality worker said they were worried the hotel where they worked could shut, with a bar worker also expressing their concerns over people ignoring the rules, saying it's clear they 'don't care' about the pandemic.
Speaking to LADbible recently, psychologist Dag Härdfeldt said many people have never faced an 'adversary' like Covid-19 before, and that it can trigger an enormous amount of stress, anxiety, worry and doubt about the future.
Reminding people that human beings are 'extraordinarily adaptable creatures', Härdfeldt said: "Natural selection favours adaptability - and the fact that humankind has come so far is a testimony to our incredible ability to adapt to, and overcome, sudden changes in our environment.
"So my first advice is to not get carried away with catastrophic thoughts about the apocalypse - and instead remind your worried mind that the Covid-19 virus is being handled by the most capable species on Earth.
"It's also worth reminding yourself that at no point in history has the science of medicine been as advanced as it is right now. Healthcare is also more available and efficient, through means of digital health care for example, so boost your faith by taking advantage of the opportunities at hand."
While it might seem hard to comprehend at the moment, Härdfeldt thinks the pandemic could actually have enduring positive impacts on both an individual and a global scale.
He said: "One definition of a crisis is that it is a problem that can only be solved by tools we haven't discovered yet - or rather, that our current tools at hand are not sufficient enough, therefore we need to develop new ones.
"In regards to this, I would like to mention the term post-traumatic growth, which has been poised as an alternative to resilience. Where resilience indicates our ability to return to status quo, post-traumatic growth indicates our ability to grow beyond, rather than return to a previous state. To reach a different state, a state where we can say, 'This trauma caused us great harm and suffering, but by the end of the day, I consider us to be better off because of it'.
"I do believe this pandemic opens up great possibilities for post-traumatic growth, both for us as individuals, but also for society as a whole."
He continued: "Another possible positive effect of this pandemic - and an indication of post-traumatic growth - is a healthy re-evaluation of our priorities and increased appreciation of things we have taken for granted.
"I've conversed with a lot of patients who have expressed new found appreciation and gratitude for the small things in life, like being able to walk in the park or just being able to visit their family.
"Hopefully, we can all come out of this pandemic with a heightened sense of appreciation for the small pleasures life brings us."
Here's a list of the leading mental health helplines and services that are just a call away in the UK:
- Samaritans are there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and will talk to you about anything that's bothering you. You can call 116 123 (free from any phone), email [email protected] or visit some branches in person. You can also call the Welsh Language Line on 0300 123 3011 from 7pm to 11pm every day.
- The Mix take calls from under 25s on 0808 808 4994 from Sunday to Friday, 2pm to 11pm. You can request support by email using the form on The Mix website or using their crisis text messenger service.
- Papyrus HOPELINEUK is there for under 35s struggling with suicidal feelings, or those who are concerned about a young person who might be struggling. You can call them on 0800 068 4141 on weekdays from 9am to 10pm, on weekends from 2pm to 10pm, and on bank holidays from 2pm to 10pm. You can also email [email protected] or text 07786 209 697.
- The Nightline website allows students to see if their university or college offers a night-time listening service. Nightline phone operators are all students too.
- Switchboard is there for people who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender and can be reached on 0300 330 0630 from 10am to 10pm every day. You can also email here or use their webchat service. Phone operators all identify as LGBT+.
- The Community Advice and Listening Line (C.A.L.L). is available for those who live in Wales and can be contacted on 0800 132 737, which is open 24/7. You can also text 'help' followed by a question to 81066.
UOKM8? is a campaign by LADbible, featuring films and stories that provide advice and inspiration on mental health. Explore more here and don't suffer in silence. Let's talk mental health.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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