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World Mental Health Day focuses on effects on Covid pandemic

PUBLISHED: 19:00 09 October 2020

Jon Neal, Chief Executive of Suffolk Mind, said the number of people suffering from stress in Suffolk nearly doubled during lockdown. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Jon Neal, Chief Executive of Suffolk Mind, said the number of people suffering from stress in Suffolk nearly doubled during lockdown. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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This year’s World Mental Health Day is more important than ever, as coronavirus has doubled the number of people suffering from stress and mental health in Suffolk.

The global event happening tomorrow, Saturday, October 10, is to raise awareness about mental health conditions and this year’s focus has been the effects of the Covid pandemic.

Jon Neal, chief executive officer for Suffolk Mind, said the emotional needs audit completed regularly by the charity shows the number of people suffering from stress in the county has doubled since March when the virus hit the UK.

He said: “A lot of the rise has been driven by the emotional need for community which hasn’t been met properly during lockdown.

“Every day is world mental health day for someone struggling with their own mental health.

“In a year like this there are lots of barriers to getting those emotional needs and we are tribal animals, we need our tribe.”

During the lockdown period between March and June, the charity found that nearly half of people in Suffolk, 46%, were not meeting their emotional needs, making them more liable to stress and have other mental health issues.

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Before lockdown this was just 24%.

Many people have suffered stress after having their job put in jeopardy by restrictions, fears about finances, as well as the physical and social isolation the year has brought.

As Covid continues to dictate our lives, some people may need to adapt and find new ways to ensure they don’t become stressed or mentally unwell.

Mr Neal is a firm advocate of exercise and has been working with Suffolk County Council on the ‘Keep Moving Suffolk’ campaign.

Suffolk Mind have helped publish a list of seven tips of how to improve your mental health by getting your body moving.

To mark the global awareness day, a blog has been released by Ezra Hewing, head of mental health education at Suffolk Mind, sharing ten ways to improve your own mental health.

As part of the message from the World Health Organisation which manages the event, Suffolk Mind is calling on councils to open up spaces which can be used to hold activities and meetings.

More resources to help deal with mental health are available on the Suffolk Mind website, including specific guides to coping in a world ruled by Covid.

MORE: Suffolk Mind celebrates 10-year anniversary on World Mental Health Day


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