News Years Eve 2020. Coronavirus. Pubs closed. Shops Closed. Social contact restricted. It is most assuredly going to be a Long Dark Winter.

I think few would disagree that this winter is going to be hard work. I believe those that already suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) will be joined by many other people.

The conditions are surely set for Mental Health challenges like no other year. There has been much talk about the looming mental health crisis caused by the COVID lockdowns. To use a popular phrase, “I don’t think we’ve seen the peak yet”.

From a personal perspective, I would admit that I have struggled in the last couple of years with the dark, wet weather of January and February. I have dealt with this by booking a holiday or trip for March. A target if you like. Something to look forward to. Again, this winter, that approach is removed. As is the social interaction that the pub brings. Working from home means little interactions there either.

The human being is by nature a social creature. We rely on it. When it’s not there, we notice. We most assuredly miss it.

It is more important than ever that we carry forward the lessons of the past year. The community spirit. The check up phone calls. The caring. The good deeds. looking after each other.

It has probably never been more important than ever to spend time to look after each other.

As well as looking after each other, we must look after and cherish the NHS. This most cherished of British institutions is in the fight of its life to keep us safe and well.

Please use the NHS wisely. Follow the guidelines. Allow them the space to help us. But if you genuinely need help, ask for it.

There are people and organisations out there waiting to help.

  • Family members
  • Friends
  • Your local GP
  • The Samaritans – 116 123
  • Mind – mind.org.uk

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