This month officially marks one year since the UK Government announced the first national lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19. As of today, the country has seen three full lockdowns, and has had to cope with ever-changing restrictions throughout the year. Last month, the Government published a road-map to the release of all restrictions on social distancing by June 21st. Although this news sparked joy in many, others had a less optimistic reaction.
Mental Health has been a key aspect of the coronavirus pandemic, with the effects of isolation from the outside world combined with the anxiety of venturing into public spaces and navigating new social distancing rules proving tough for many to handle.
Last June, an ONS survey found that 69% of adults in the UK were ‘somewhat or very worried about the impact of Covid-19 on their life’, with the most common groups that suffered low mood and anxiety being young people, people with diagnosed mental health conditions, people living with children, and people living in urban areas, according to health.org.
Although it has been perceived that young people are the most excited about restrictions easing, with various summer festivals and events being already sold out as testimony to this, the fact is that young people have suffered a great deal mentally during the pandemic, and for many the return to normality is an anxiety inducing prospect.
After all, the world has changed significantly over the last year, and even our day to day social interactions have been completely altered, so it is unlikely that everyone is just going to suddenly be fine with large crowds, busy streets and packed pubs overnight.
Furthermore, the fact that easing restrictions in the past has led to the pandemic worsening, it is no surprise that many people are also worried that the return to normality too soon could see history repeat itself. The Guardian recently reported that YoungMinds had found that while 79% of young people agreed that easing restrictions would benefit their mental health, most were still concerned that lifting restrictions too early could trigger further lockdowns. The lack of certainty, and the threat of continued social isolation, is an equally fearful prospect.
As restrictions ease over the coming months, it will be more important than ever to be mindful of people’s boundaries, and although it is perfectly reasonable to be excited about all this coming to an end, not everyone will feel the same way. Whether your friends are desperate to go away on holiday, or they would still prefer to meet in the park, be mindful of others and yourself.
This past year has been hard on everyone. For more information on coronavirus restrictions visit the gov.uk website, and to find out more information, or to seek advice on mental health during this time, there are resources available on the YoungMinds, NHS, and Mind websites.