We British are known for our “stiff upper lip.” Recent social movements such as #ItsOknotTobeOk, #ItsGoodtoTalk and #BeKind may be moving us toward collective emotional transparency. But we still have a way to go.
Research recently released by Bupa highlights a worrying pattern of Brit’s still “bottling up” our true feelings.
Although 82% of those they questioned during lockdown have suffered with low self-esteem, hopelessness, continuous low mood or anxiety, almost half of them said they hadn’t told anyone about it. In comparison, in 2019 similar research then found only a quarter of those asked had kept quiet about their struggles.
So, could this “grin and bear it” mindset be leading Britain into a mental health crisis? Is lockdown to blame or has it been a catalyst for an existing issue?
Are Brits bottling up a Covid-19 related mental health crisis?
In a new published paper, the British Medical Association has issued a warning that the UK needs to put more support in place in order to avoid a mental health crisis post Covid-19. They believe that those with pre existing conditions will see them get worse, those in the health service are at risk of burnout, stress and exhaustion and many more will feel its impact too.
BMA mental health policy lead Dr Andrew Molodynski said: “Covid-19 has meant a sudden and stark change in the way people live their lives but as we return to some semblance of normality, we are faced with the longer-term impact this pandemic will have on mental health.”
“Employees that haven’t experienced mental health concerns before may well be at risk, and those with existing conditions may be in greater danger. It’s crucial that businesses investigate what resources are available to support all people with their mental health.”
Mental health services were already overwhelmed prior to lockdown and this pandemic could cause another than half a million cases of mental illness, according to the Centre for Mental Health.
But even as lockdown eases, Bupa has found that up to 65% of people are anxious about returning to the office and many are concerned their mental health will worsen as “normality” returns. Despite that, reluctance to open up about their concerns was high…
Only 5% had spoken to a professional.
43% felt they needed to ‘grin and bear’ the pressure they were under.
23% said they felt as if now is not the right time to make a “fuss” about their mental health.
Most people said they wait around 2 months before discussing their mental health and almost half (45%) said they will not seek help in the future.
These are worrying findings. We believe that now is the time to encourage each other to talk about how we are feeling and to prioritise our mental health as well as physical health. Business can play a part in normalising these discussions. At Hug, we agree with Brett Hill, distribution director at Towergate Health & Protection “… businesses must support all staff,” he said. “In a time marred by uncertainty and concern, mental health support can literally be a lifeline to those struggling.“
If you feel your mental health has taken a decline please remember: you are not alone, Covid-19 has been a time of great uncertainty. Remember early diagnosis can be key for improving your outcomes and with so many resources online and in the community there is no need to suffer in silence.
At hug we understand that people make businesses and we are here to help employees and employers stay well and happy. Our platform offers anonymity and transparency and can connect an individual with support and services to suit their needs. To book a demo, please click here today.