“As lockdown eases, the government’s fixation on top-down strategy is risking the mental health of the loneliest citizens”
A centralised approach characterises many government schemes in relation to mental health and wellbeing (the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme, for example, as distinct from providing such therapies mostly through local GP practices). Such top-down thinking extends to the issue of loneliness in the era of COVID-19.
Writing in The Guardian, Jane Dudman says:
“Despite the easing of lockdown conditions in England, Ruth, like many people, is struggling with loneliness.
‘I feel imprisoned,’ she told me. Since UK lockdown began on 24 March, she has been turned in on her own company in a way she has found surprising and upsetting. Surprising, because Ruth has lived alone, happily, for many years.
She’s retired, so she doesn’t have work to focus on, and she’s still unable to see her close family, who are too far away to visit in a day. The shock to Ruth herself has been how quickly her motivation has ebbed: she doesn’t feel like volunteering and from being a keen walker, now barely feels like getting out of the house for a stroll.
We don’t yet know how many people may die as a result of being alone during lockdown, but we do know that loneliness kills; that even before lockdown, a third of UK citizens sometimes felt lonely; and that lockdown is already having a huge impact on people’s wellbeing …”
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