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Mental health in 2020 #psychology

It has been a difficult year with covid and mental health has been a problem for many people. It has highlighted the need for more mental health provision and better mental health provision. Some people suffer year after year and even when they get some help the therapies on offer seem inadequate and ineffective.

mental health

Loneliness

Loneliness is a big problem for many people this year and an even bigger problem for people suffering from depression or anxiety. We are social animals and on the whole, we care about one another. Isolation can make us feel alone and uncared for. We can find solace in a glass of wine or even a chocolate bar but that isn’t a substitute for contact and conversation with our fellow human beings.

Childhood

Childhood abuse or even a childhood that was devoid of a caring environment can make us susceptible to anxiety and depression. Not everyone grows up in a loving environment. It can be a harsh uncaring world and some parents just feel a need to survive. They are under constant pressure and can feel any added pressure, even from their children, is too much to bear. This can lead to various forms of abuse, from violent abuse to a more subtle abuse that they don’t even know they are doing; the abuse of simple neglect. Childhood neglect can lead to an adulthood of anxiety about oneself and depression.

Self-esteem

People who have been neglected as children often grow up with a lack of self-esteem. They feel unworthy of loving caring relationships and might find it difficult to care for others, difficult to form relationships or they might care deeply but have difficulty expressing their feelings. This lack of self-esteem becomes amplified by isolation from others. Covid is amplifying these psychological problems and as a society, we need to accept that more “talking therapies” need to be made available when the covid crisis is over.

Symptomatic

There are societal symptoms that are already clear signs of mental health problems. Some people are opposing the covid related restrictions quite aggressively and spreading misinformation on social media which is their only way of communicating during the lockdown. Many of them are now struggling to hide their drink problems from their families. The bravado and jollity that is normally a product of the booze have turned to aggression and mood swings as they have to accept what they see as an affront to their right to freedom.

Role models

Many people had poor role models as children and didn’t learn the nuances of adult behaviour. These people can be quite childish and prone to speaking without really thinking. Donald Trump’s rambling about bleach as a treatment for covid was a prime example of a childish outburst from someone who suffered neglect as a child and had poor role models. In his case, he was probably given lots of freedom and material things but deprived of adult guidance and education.

Talking

Talking to a therapist who remains calm and is unjudgemental can help us untangle the tangled memories of our confused childhoods. It can also help us untangle the tangled thoughts we have as an adult. Talking therapies can help us make sense of the world we live in and become part of it in a more emotional way. When the covid crisis is over, we need more talking therapies and we need more community activities where people can get together to just talk and be reassured that they are not alone. The need for better mental healthcare in 2020 needs to be accepted.

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