Covid -19 and Mental Illness.

Mental health is at the forefront of many people’s minds now, we are all struggling in one way or another. Whether we are at home, or at work, normality of life has disappeared. Someone may be surrounded by people for example family members yet feel incredibly alone. Thousands have been made redundant from their jobs; small businesses have been forced to shut. There are those adults, and children living in abusive, neglectful environments who have no escape. Many are finding the task of home-schooling an impossibility. The examples of those who are suffering now are endless.

The good news, the vaccine is here. every day around the worlds millions are being vaccinated, pharmacies have ques nightly with people desperately trying to be the lucky few who have the vaccines “left over”. It is a relief and a joy for those who have had the vaccine.

The order in which the vaccine is administered is:

1Residents in a care home for older adults and staff working in care homes for older adults
2All those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
3All those 75 years of age and over
4All those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals (not including pregnant women and those under 16 years of age)
5All those 65 years of age and over
6Adults aged 16 to 65 years in an at-risk group (see clinical conditions below)
7All those 60 years of age and over
8All those 55 years of age and over
9All those 50 years of age and over
10Rest of the population (to be determined)

These guidelines were set up  by the JCVI (Joint committee on vaccination and immunisation) (Above taken from the Mirror online.)

The elderly, frontline care staff, the clinically extremely vulnerable are rightly top of the list. Of course, those who are caring for the vulnerable must be vaccinated as a priority, and the elderly too.

Members of my own family who are physically vulnerable, over the age of 70 and those who work on the front line of health have had the vaccination. My husband was among them. He is a fit, strong 53-year-old. His health issues do not put him at any more serious risk from COVID-19 than anyone else, yet he was called and told to come in for his vaccine due to a certain medication he takes he is considered vulnerable. I am happy for him, and relieved, however, when the call came through ( being the gentleman he is…) he politely explained that his wife (that be me!) is, in his view, more vulnerable than him, and would it please be possible for her to take his spot. He explained that I suffer from health anxiety and bipolar disorder. The anxiety the current climate is causing me is affecting my bipolar, and I have had some manic, depressive episodes as a result. He is concerned that the longer I need to wait the more anxious I become.

I am not downplaying the seriousness of physical illness. Of course, people with serious physical illness are more at risk, and again, it is important to stress that YES, they should (together with the elderly and front-line workers) be at the top of the list. There is though a group of people who have been forgotten.

As mentioned earlier, every one of us is struggling in some manner. Imagine though, having a pre-existing mental health condition before COVID-19 showed itself, living every day with social anxiety, depression, health anxiety, bipolar, Schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, the list goes on. Add to that COVID-19, and what do you get. Devastation among those who suffer from the above. Surely, the mentally vulnerable should be up close on the list to the physically vulnerable.

Gov.UK reports:

1.Average mental distress was 8.1% higher in April 2020 than it was between 2017-2019.

2. The proportion of people experiencing sleep problems increased from 16% before the pandemic to 25% during April 2020.

The below has been taking directly from:

Mind responds to ONS figures showing impact of coronavirus on people’s mental health | Mind

Mind responds to figures out from Office for National Statistics (ONS) which have found that rates of depression have doubled during coronavirus pandemic. 

Figures found: 

  • Almost one in five adults (19.2%) were likely to be experiencing some form of depression during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in June 2020; this had almost doubled from around 1 in 10 (9.7%) before the pandemic (July 2019 to March 2020).
  • One in eight adults (12.9%) developed moderate to severe depressive symptoms during the pandemic, while a further 6.2% of the population continued to experience this level of depressive symptoms; around 1 in 25 adults (3.5%) saw an improvement over this period.
  • Adults who were aged 16 to 39 years old, female, unable to afford an unexpected expense, or disabled were the most likely to experience some form of depression during the pandemic.
  • Feeling stressed or anxious was the most common way adults experiencing some form of depression felt their well-being was being affected, with 84.9% stating this.
  • Over two in five (42.2%) adults experiencing some form of depression during the pandemic said their relationships were being affected, compared with one in five (20.7%) adults with no or mild depressive symptoms.

We are fully aware of the stigma, the misinformation and the lack of understanding people who live with a mental health illness endure. The governments of the world assure us again and again that they do all in their power to equalise physical and mental illness. Yet the guidelines above do not reflect this.

Agree? Disagree? let me know!

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