At any one time 1 in 4 of us will suffer with mental ill health, during a pandemic we know that many factors will impact on our mental health & wellbeing and this figure may increase.
Factors such as fear of the coronavirus itself, worry about our loved ones, bereavement, loneliness and for those of us who have continued to work, to keep our country running and our vulnerable cared for, the added pressure and anxieties felt when entering the workplace can all have a negative effect on our mental health.
During this Mental Health Awareness week, we at GMB Sandwell have been speaking to our members to ask how they are coping and to reassure them that they are not alone.
With permission we want to share with you some of their comments – remember you are not alone, and this will not last forever.
I have struggled with my mental health for over 18 years and been on medication for the majority of this time. The current situation has exacerbated my feelings of anxiety and stress and sent my imagination racing.I am incredibly lucky, I know what coping strategies work for me so I use these and tell myself it won’t be forever.
To be honest, I am not the same person as I once was before the pandemic. I feel that life is a gamble now. I just sit here asking questions to myself and knowing no one has answers.
Do I feel safe anymore? NO. Do I think my mental health is suffering? YES but only when someone suggests I go out of the house, which isn’t right. Do I feel I have stopped living? YES because I am unsure about everything and miss the life I had before.
I have been closely working with people with COVID 19 for the past 5 weeks, with our wonderful STAR angel’s. I have seen first hand how invasive and terrifying this disease is, how isolating and frightening it is, no amount of reassurance can relieve anxieties as no one knows how severe it will develop, it is a horrible disease!!!!. After developing symptoms I had a test & I am lucky – my results came back negative. Unfortunately a few of my brave and caring colleagues have not been as lucky as me. PPE (when required), Social distancing and general hygiene is so important. Keep safe everyone, and a speedy recovery to the STAR angels who are currently unwell because of it.
At the beginning of April I had to leave work because the paramedics were called to my wife. They did all the tests and found she had a mild form of the virus so the next 72 hours where very stressful. We had to isolate for 14 days . Even now I get up to go to work but I don’t want to go just in case I get another phone call saying the paramedics are back at my house.
I’m feeling very vulnerable, I’m confused at the gov guide lines and how they are adamant about face coverings in enclosed spaces and how the 2M rule must be adhered to strictly HOWEVER in a school setting it is not required. I feel a bit like a lab rat. I feel just as care worker feel that we are expendable. It’s more important to get the country back earning than health of school staff
Only today one of the children said “I don’t like school anymore it’s not fair, we can’t be with our friends “ – It’s heartbreaking.
Your GMB branch reps are available to speak with if you have concerns in the workplace and can direct you to support if you need it.
When you are on your doorsteps clapping for key workers this week, why not make a commitment to also check in with a colleague, friend or family member and ask how they are?
Many of your work colleagues, friends and family members will be sharing your worries and there is no shame in asking for help, even just picking up the phone and hearing another voice, or with current technologies being able to see a familiar face can make a huge difference.
This years theme for the Mental Health Awareness week is Kindness….
If you need urgent support please contact the Samaritans on 116 123
or https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/ for services near you
Posted: 20th May 2020