Telegraph commentators and readers have shared their experiences of living under the coronavirus restrictions as part of a new campaign to keep the nation’s mental wellbeing in the spotlight.
With the strapline “We’re living through a crisis that cannot be ignored”, the Mental Health Emergency campaign launched on Wednesday (January 13) to highlight readers’ struggles – from isolation to anxiety – and aims to focus minds in government on the issue.
According to the Office for National Statistics, rates of depression in adults have doubled during the pandemic to one in five people, Deputy Editor and Director of Lifestyle at the Telegraph Jane Bruton tells the SoE.
An NHS study released last autumn, meanwhile, found one in six children are now experiencing mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and loneliness (up from one in nine the last time the study was conducted in 2017).
“As the clamour for ever-tighter lockdown measures and restrictions grows, we thought it vital to highlight the spiralling mental health crisis the nation is facing,” Bruton said.
“Calls to the Mind helpline have doubled, experts are warning of a mental health pandemic and, as Telegraph columnist Bryony Gordon wrote for our launch, the situation is likely to be worsened by shifting blame onto the public for lives lost: ‘Mental health conditions thrive in a culture of silence, fear and judgement which, right now, is almost state-sanctioned.’”
The Society of Editors’ Press Awards last year gave Bryony Gordon the Journalists’ Charity Award for her work in championing open discussions as a mental health ambassador and Telegraph columnist.
Bruton added: “We hope that by highlighting the issues people are struggling with, via a series of readers stories as well as pieces from high profile experts, minds will be focused at government level on ways to address and alleviate this unfolding crisis.”
Read more about the campaign here.
- Click here to find your local NHS mental health crisis line
- Text SHOUT to 85258 to access Shout, the 24/7 crisis text line
- Click here for Mental Health Mates at Home – online peer support sessions