The coronavirus pandemic is having a huge impact on our mental health, with lockdown measures resulting in many people, including children, feeling anxious and isolated.
Regularly checking in on friends and family is more important than ever during these difficult times, and ‘Time to Talk’ Day is taking place on 4th February with the aim of getting the nation talking. Time to Talk Day launched in 2014 and hopes to break the silence surrounding mental health problems and to end the stigma that many people feel.
It coincides with Children’s Mental Health Week, which runs from 1st-7th February and this year has the theme ‘Express Yourself’. The aim of the week is to encourage children to find ways to share feelings, thoughts, or ideas, through creativity. Children and young adults have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic, having to continue their education at home, and missing out on social contact with peers. Their job prospects have also diminished, with thousands of employers having been forced to either furlough existing staff or make redundancies.
According to a study led by the Mental Health Foundation and conducted by YouGov, young adults are more likely to report hopelessness, loneliness, stress and suicidal thoughts or feelings as a result of the pandemic than other age groups. Three-quarters of mental health problems occur during the period between the ages of 18 and 24, according to the Foundation. In the third week of June last year, 22% of young people reported suicidal thoughts or feelings, more than double that of the population as a whole at 10%.
Discussing mental health problems and sharing feelings of anxiety and isolation with friends and family are vital, but many people feel more comfortable seeking professional help.
Mental health charities include Mind, The Mental Health Foundation, and Anxiety UK but there may be other sources of help available to you if you have protection insurance in place.
As well as being hugely beneficial in themselves, protection policies such as income protection, life insurance, or critical illness cover, can sometimes also offer a variety of additional benefits, including free mental health support services to policyholders in the form of telephone helplines, or video therapy sessions,
These types of cover may also offer bereavement services, including advice or counselling, and in some cases might also offer practical career advice such as CV writing and career guidance, which may be particularly helpful for those who’ve been made redundant, or university leavers who are looking for their first job.
It’s therefore well worth digging out any policies you might have to see whether they offer mental health support, or any other additional benefits which might prove useful.
If your policy doesn’t come with any extra benefits, it might be a good idea to review your existing cover. You may be able to get the same cover for the same price or less with some of these valuable benefits included free of charge.
Mental health in the spotlight