COVID-19 may be a physical illness but it has also hit mental health hard. In August, a group of NHS leaders said they were seeing a rise in people reporting severe mental health difficulties while charities including Mind, Samaritans and Calm have all said they have seen an increase in people coming to them for help. Read the full article via the BBC.
Over the past decade, mental health awareness campaigns have been changing lives. From individuals reaching out to their loved ones and communities, celebrities facing the media to shine a light on the realities of mental health, charities and organisations working tireless to offer resources and advice, and online activists leading the conversation and reaching millions through their networks – this work is invaluable.
But, once individuals have worked through the challenges they faced before feeling comfortable to reach out for help, many are then at a loss of where to go next – often facing long waiting lists where, according to research from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, one in four people with mental health problems were waiting at least three months before they were able to start NHS treatment. Read the full article via Happiful.
Peace of mind is a privilege that has not been afforded to Black men before this pandemic and it’s certainly not got better during it. In June, a report by the Centre For Mental Health warned that mental health inequalities could be ‘exacerbated’ due to the impacts of COVID-19, putting pressure on communities whose mental health was already ‘poorer and precarious’ before it hit the UK.
One of those communities has long been Black British men and women: 13 years ago, psychiatrist Dr Kwame McKenzie wrote about how “Being Black in Britain is bad for your mental health”. Read the full article via GQ.
“Mental illness thrives in a culture of silence; you have to pierce that and get through it. I always thought I was the only person going through it and knowing that someone else is [experiencing the same] is comforting. The only way to get proper treatment for mental illnesses is to talk. Mental illness works by silencing people.”