Manchester, it’s okay to think lockdown is hard – but help is out there

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic can feel like a never-ending uphill battle, but there is never a need to suffer in silence.
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Lockdown is hard.

At this point though, as England has once again entered into its third national lockdown since the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic first began – with residents told to “stay home, protect the NHS and save lives” – that could very well be sounding like the true understatement of the century, but that doesn’t hide from the fact that it’s true – lockdown is hard.

And it’s absolutely okay to think that it’s hard too.

While it’s okay to admit that lockdown has its challenges, and for some it may present more of those challenges than others, with confirmed case numbers and devastating death figures continuing to soar nationwide, it’s also okay to acknowledge that it’s needed too given the situation the country is in, even if it is hard.

The bottom line is that it’s important to remember that whatever emotions you may be feeling right now in light of last night’s lockdown announcement, are all perfectly acceptable.

You’re likely not the only one to be feeling this way either, no matter how isolating it may seem.

There has been a great deal of discussion over the past nine or so months about the need for the nation to come together to help defeat one of the greatest physical health challenges humanity has faced in modern history, but this discourse has often left many feeling that our mental health has been pushed to one side, left out of the picture, or neglected entirely, and as a result, according to the latest studies by leading mental health charity MIND, more than half of adults (60%) and over two thirds of young people (68%) said their mental health got worse during the first lockdown.

And both people with and without previous experience of mental health problems have reported poor mental health and wellbeing during lockdown too, so whilst it’s true that these “unprecedented times” are affecting some more than others, it is nevertheless taking its toll on us all.

But help is always available.

Simon Watkinson / Unsplash

If you or anyone you know may be struggling right now, please know that you are never alone and there are many different places you can reach out to for support right here in Greater Manchester.

Suffering in silence never need be the way.

  • Manchester Mind – An organisation that has supported people in Manchester for over 30 years. Most services are now available over the phone, by email or video call. The number is 0161 769 5732 and the opening hours are Mon – Fri 10am – 2pm.
  • The GM Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust – The local NHS helpline is open 24/7 which you can call any time, day or night, if you feel your mental health is beginning to suffer: 0800 953 0285.
  • Andy’s Man Club – A group dedicated to starting conversations about mental health, assuring people that it’s ok to talk. You can contact them by email on: [email protected]
  • CALM – The Campaign Against Living Miserably supports people via phone and webchat. You can call 0800 58 58 58 or speak to a support worker online. Open 5pm to midnight.
  • Samaritans – The Manchester & Salford Samaritans offer emotional support by telephone and email. The phone lines and email support are available 24/7. Call 116 123 or visit the website.

Don’t feel particularly comfortable reaching out just yet, but recognise that you may need a helping hand in picking yourself up every now and then?

Another great resource we recommend checking out is Manchester’s very own Feel Good Club.

The movement – which started humbly as an Instagram page filled with uplifted messages and top tips by founders Kiera and Aimie Lawlor-Skillen – is aimed at normalising the stigma around mental health and has since flourished into a successful platform of 166K+ followers. So successful in fact, that it saw the pair go on to open a brand-new wellbeing-focused cafe in the heart of the Northern Quarter in October of last year, which will be continuing to remain open for takeaway services throughout this new national lockdown to provide a freshly-brewed cup of coffee and some support where needed.

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The Manc Group is also here to help too.

There are real people behind our platforms, and our DMs are always open, so we encourage you to drop us a message should you ever need a chat and we will be more than happy to help point you in the right direction towards the best help possible.

And remember, no matter how many times it may have been said before, it cannot be said enough – it’s okay not to be okay, and your emotions are always valid.

We got this, Manchester.

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