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31st August 2021

An “Unstoppable Community” Championing Mental Health

The pandemic has been testing for all of us in one way, shape or form but there are those out there who are able to help.

Mind Cymru describes themselves as an “unstoppable community”, who won’t give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets the support and respect they deserve.

Simon Jones, Head of Policy at Mind Cymru chatted to Business News Wales about why it is integral that people’s wellbeing’s are now supported more than ever.

He says:

“[Mind Cymru] work proactively to lobby Welsh Government to make sure people with mental health problems are given the help and support they need, when they need it. We also provide mental health services – ranging from our guided self-help Active Monitoring courses and our Infoline, to a variety of direct services delivered by local Minds – to help people across Wales.”

Going on to talk about the pandemic’s impact on people’s mental health:

“It’s important that we look after our mental health during times of change and uncertainty – and the past 18 months has certainly been that. It’s no understatement to say that the nation has experienced a collective challenge to our mental health. During the initial lockdown, over one in two adults (60 per cent) and over two in three young people (68 per cent) who responded to our survey of more than 800 people told us their mental health had worsened.”

He adds that:

“Similar to the physical impact of the pandemic, the mental health impact has disproportionately affected some groups more than others. We have heard that people with an existing mental health problem before the pandemic have experienced their mental health worsen, with some problems becoming more complex. It’s well established that young people in particular have experienced a significant amount of worry and disruption during this period and there is evidence that this is a group we should also be ensuring can quickly access support if and when they need it.”

Simon describes how “Coronavirus has had a massive impact on the workforce in Wales. Key workers, including those in the emergency services, have told Mind Cymru that working during the pandemic has been a really anxious time for them.”

He mentions how “those of us who have had to work from home have faced significant challenges too. While some staff may have been relived to have ditched their commute, others might be struggling with issues like loneliness, isolation, and poor work/life balance. It can be difficult to switch off from work if your ‘office’ also happens to be your kitchen, living room or bedroom.”

Speaking of those working from home, Simon says how it has been important to create a clear dividing line between working and non-working times.

“Whether that is speaking to a loved one, taking a bath, or going out for a walk – anything that provides an opportunity to physically step away from your working area is useful.”

“As workplaces start to open back up and employees are encouraged to come back to the office, we are seeing people feeling worried and anxious about mixing with others again. It’s important to note that there is no ‘normal’ way to respond to the pandemic, and some people will take longer than others to adjust to changes. It will be important for line managers and employers to be sensitive to the needs and experiences of their staff during the last eighteen months and consider what flexibility and support can be offered to their staff so that they can support their mental health and wellbeing. There is a range of advice and guidane for employers on the Mental Health at Work website (www.mentalhealthatwork.org.uk)”

The pandemic has not only been a time of struggle but also, one of unity and by looking out for each other, we can ensure that everyone returns to the workplace with the right mindset.