We spoke to local people in Preston to find out how they coped during lockdown and if it had a detirmental effect on their mental health.
We are running a mental health awareness campaign throughout this month for Suicide Prevention Month and when speaking to local mental health-related charities and groups, the effect lockdown had on mental wellbeing was an issue that was mentioned repeatedly.
Recently we spoke to Rosa from Peer Talk, a peer to peer support group which encourages people to talk about their feelings to help with depression and anxiety.
She commented on how the effect lockdown had on peoples mental health was a common issue mentioned at the group’s talks:
“Without a doubt, we are hearing this across all of our peer support groups that have re-opened in the past few weeks. It has been a very stressful and isolating time, not universally because for a few it has been a relief not to go out and have actually helped their anxiety but generally, people have been stressed and more anxious because of the isolation. There has been frustration at not being able to access services and forms of support, it has completely wrecked peoples way of being across the board.”
Here are some stories of how people in Preston have been negatively affected by being in lockdown.
Sally lives with her husband who is under oncology, her 9 year old who has boomed needs after being born at 24 weeks and her new baby son who is now 8 months old. She says that lockdown has caused anxiety and an overall decline in her mental wellbeing:
“My anxiety is I’d say the main issue, panic attacks daily and an unnerving sense of doom. I had to ban the daily briefing on tv as it just made me so much worse. The boys are 24/7 but all support was removed and we were left to fend for ourselves. I wasn’t sleeping with so much on my mind and to be honest, it totally felt like I was surviving Groundhog Day not living. My son has got a now diagnosis during lockdown and my mum had major life-saving surgery so the stress has been piled on.”
Rachel says her mental health has always been an issue but it was generally relatively stable prior to lockdown. She has been diagnosed with depression, anxiety and Complex PTSD:
“My sleeping pattern was awful, with bouts of terrible insomnia. I was feeling like I had failed my son because we couldn’t do what we used to do. My anxiety certainly got worse, what with all the risks and uncertainty about everything. My C-PTSD symptoms also saw an increase, because of the added anxiety, sleeping issues, and a lot more free time to overthink things and dwell on everything.”
Rachel did however say that lockdown had some postive affects on her mental wellbeing:
“I did find my depression symptoms lesson in some ways with lockdown, mainly because I didn’t have the feeling that I was missing out on anything. Prior to lockdown, seeing my friends out in pubs, shopping, relaxing, on holiday etc often used to make me feel worse due to being a single mum and wasn’t able to do all these things at the level and frequency that my friends were able to, But with lockdown, everyone was in the same situation, so that did benefit me to one degree.”
Ellena is a key worker and says that the routine of work did help as a distraction but with her normal coping mechanisms taken away, she did struggle:
“I suffer from anxiety and depression and was already struggling with my mental health prior to lockdown. It was much harder not being able to have my friends around me whenever I wanted because they are my main support. More time at home meant more time with my own thoughts and no distractions from them.
“I’ve found the 2 hardest things have been GP appointments via phone not face to face and I have therapy with a psychologist which has been via video call not face to face. Whilst it’s great to still have the therapy sessions it is hard virtually because it’s easier to hide things you’d otherwise be more open within a face to face appointment.”