OPINION – Dr Ellie Cannon: Time for us all to pull together as a community
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OPINION – Dr Ellie Cannon: Time for us all to pull together as a community

Social distancing measures and self-isolation will have an impact on the mental health of all of us, so the community needs to support the most vulnerable at a time of need

Dr Ellie Cannon
Dr Ellie Cannon
Dr Ellie Cannon

For many of us, this crisis will raise our levels of stress or anxiety.

We know that at times of high pressure and uncertainty, leaning on those around us is of the utmost importance. But how do we do this when health guidance for many, particularly the most vulnerable in society, is to self-isolate or to engage in social distancing?

Social distancing measures and self-isolation will have an impact on the mental health of all of us, but particularly those with existing mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety disorder.

At times like this, we need to think more broadly about how to build and maintain support networks when the usual opportunities for social connection are not available to us. For those of us self-isolating, think about alternative forms of communication. Do we

have friends or family who are in a similar situation? Can we agree to check in with each other every few days? It can help knowing that someone is looking out for you and that you have someone to talk to.

Although social media can exacerbate feelings of fear and anxiety, we can also use it to aid us. Rather than scouring the news, set aside time to check trusted news channels in order to feel updated. Find a network or community of people online who you can talk to, a virtual book group or an exercise programme to do at home.

Remember, it is very normal to have mixed feelings. Many of us will be wondering what the future holds, or what our next few weeks might look like. We need to acknowledge these feelings as real and, where possible, share them with those around us. This, too,

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