Mental health during the pandemic

There has been a staggering increase in the amount of people dealing with mental health issues from all age groups and backgrounds, and the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions in society have only exacerbated that issue.

According to the recent stats the suicide the UK mental health charity Sane reported that during the pandemic lockdown they received a 200% increase in calls. Before the pandemic suicide was the most common cause of death for men between the ages of 20-49. Statistics show that women/girls are 3x more likely to attempt suicide than men, however, when they commit suicide, they tend to use less lethal methods such as drug/medicine overdose where as men tend to use more lethal methods such as hanging, gun, and weapons etc. According to surveys and popular charity and helpline common issues which cause men mental health issues are job loss, loneliness, addiction and family/relationships. Studies show the main contributor to the declining male mental health is because of societies pressure and standards of masculinity which encourages men to have a lack of expression when it comes to emotion, and pressures them into believing the ideal life of a man includes a family, woman and financial stability those who have otherwise feel that they have failed in life.

Studies also show that women are more likely to have eating disorders and self-harm. Cases of self-harming between young women ages 15-19 are the highest, but the highest increase in cases of self-harming was from girls between 10-14. The main reason for the high amount of eating disorders in women/girls is because of society’s expectations of female beauty. Most women felt their feelings of insecurity were exacerbated by the promotion/increase of social media models. Eating disorders are also often used as a way to establish control.

As the cases of coronavirus increased there was a mounting amount of pressure placed onto NHS workers. This led to a growing concern for their mental health as people worried that depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress could have a great toll on the workers and their ability to work efficiently. Almost half of nurses, doctors and other essential workers reported having symptoms of PTSD, depression or anxiety, and around 46% said their mental health had worsened. A study reported that it was likely around 40% of essential workers had probable PTSD, which is higher than the rates for military veterans. In order to tackle this problem and support key workers England added 40 hubs across the country which provided workers with psychologist, therapists and other professionals. This strategy was previously used to help workers when dealing with Manchester arena attack in 2017, and it was very successful.

Many people argued that the mental health services supply was not sufficient with its need. The department of health and social care disputed this by saying that “we’ve provided the largest funding in NHS history with an additional 2.3bn a year by 2023/24 to transform mental health services for all.” Maybe they’re doing the best they can, but they can’t keep up with the demand.

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