Tomorrow is World Mental Health Day. This year has brought many challenges as everyone’s life has changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Health and care workers have seen workloads increase in difficult circumstances, loved-ones have been lost, some people have lost their jobs, children have lost months of education, and many of us have been home-bound which has brought its own challenges. It is inevitable that this will have an impact on mental health – although not always in a negative way as many of us have reconnected with nature during our daily exercise. It is important that we look out for each other and check-in with neighbours, friends and family, albeit in an appropriately socially distanced way.
In September I had the opportunity to participate in a Mental Health First Aid course. Given COVID restrictions, it was conducted via MS Teams, home study and online modules. It worked really well and it was beneficial to take the course with 9 other people from a range of backgrounds and experiences. As a Mental Health First Aider I am able to offer assistance to someone experiencing mental health issues or emotional distress by offering initial support through listening in a non-judgemental way and helping that person to access appropriate professional help or self-help strategies.
Remember, it is OK to not be OK - and talking about it is the first step in working things out.