The Mental Health Virus

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AS more local areas go into lockdown again, there are warnings of a mental health tsunami looming for Wales.

From 6.00 last night, Bridgend, Blaenau Gwent, Merthyr Tudfil and Newport have been added to Caerffili and Rhondda Cynon Taf on the lockdown list.

This follows an increase in positive testing for coronavirus in these areas, although the death rate in Wales has flatlined for weeks on end.

Karl-James Langford, GWLAD’s Senedd Candidate in the Vale of Glamorgan said he was extremely concerned about the mental health implications of further lockdowns in Wales.

‘As a tutor, working with adult students, I’ve already witnessed the loneliness, the acute isolation and the depression that lockdowns have caused these past few months’ said Mr Langford.

‘We know of people who have taken their own lives here because of the isolation and the prevention of usual socialization which is so important for people’s mental health’.

Mr. Langford said he was initially supportive of the first lockdown, but has now changed his mind seeing the real mental anguish it has caused in the lives of his students and for the lives of people in his area in general.

‘My personal opinion is that we have to find a way of living with the virus or we may never get to any form of normalacy again’ he said.

‘We have to accept the virus and find a way forward as a society, not just blindly accept further restrictions’.

It is quite striking how the mental health aspects of the coronavirus saga have been ignored these past few months.

First Minister Mark Drakeford, for all his earnest pleading about us ‘keeping safe’ has barely said a word about it.

And no advice, guidelines or even some words of encouragement for the general public have been issued by the Welsh Government.

The depressive potential for all is to be further ramped up, with pubs, cafes and restaurants now expected to shut their doors at 10.00 from tomorrow (Thursday).

With no guidance or support from the politicians, perhaps it’s time for civic society to step up.

Thinking of new and creative ways to reach out to people to address the growing tide of isolation and loneliness which is only likely to get worse here over the next few months.

Yes, sensible precautions are appropriate right now, but other people should never be considered a virus to be avoided at all costs.


One thought on “The Mental Health Virus

  1. “other people should never be considered a virus to be avoided at all costs.” Not the case, is it ? I’m slowly isolating myself from “other people” because I’m getting pretty pissed off with the carping about various aspects of “behaving with restraint”. Now if you have elected to deny that there is any risk at all then being denied by others the right to unrestrained contact probably does cause anxiety, anger, or any number of negative responses. However if you accept that there is “something” out there which can have a serious impact on your immediate health and life chances you need to modify behaviours for your own sake and that of others. Unless you have a severely risky condition meeting people in your own community should be within your scope. If you are isolated for a good reason you can still have contact, like standing or sitting by your front door and talking to those who come to you or are passing by.

    Too many people, particularly those quoted by the media, are seeking the freedom that they derive from ignorance. “Oh there too many confused rules” they say and that gets an affirmative nod from the media nut who solicits such comments. Well, no there aren’t. There are only single sets of rules for wherever you are. Anecdotal evidence tells of people going to Porthcawl to escape the “misery of the restraints” in RCT or Caerphilly. In other words they have granted themselves the divine right to hop like infected frogs all over our country just so they can feel a bit better about themselves. Had they been visiting a crowded party in their home town before leaving they are likely to be well dipped in that misery they seek to escape.

    Maybe a solution to the problems AGJ cites are to be found at community level. Be a touch more willing to talk to neighbours even if that means shouting across the road or the fence. Many work places have found ways to operate within the new environment, so why can’t we make some adjustments to our domestic lives. Fact is that a lot of people are insular until THEY want something and then become upset when there’s no support. Well they need to create that support as neighbours not wait until Drakeford &Co get off their backsides.

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