As the months have gone by and varies measures were put in place then relaxed, being in a higher risk group comes into question. Those who are elderly, have disabilities and long-term underlying health condition were encourage to stay home. Many did however now each are being told by the government to go out or go back to work. NHS advise that those that are in a high-risk group should begin to go out but keep a two-meter distance and wear a mask. On August 1st (as of today as I write this) shielding will be paused.

If you are younger or middle aged with great health generally some people feel anxious as we are getting mixed messages. People are fighting for and against wearing a mask, going back to work, school, travelling etc which is on the same news stream as government and health advise. Pubs have opened up but some are crowded, gyms have also opened but seem to be able to have safe distancing in place. Beaches and museum/ national trust sites are beginning to open and they seem to also be busy. If you are at high risk then it can be harder as you need to be at a two-meter distance and only able to meet one other household called a social bubble. Depression, anxiety and suicidal feelings have all been on the increase the same time mental health services have had some restrictions. Some have found online or phone counselling or psychotherapy really helpful as it means people can get support and not risk their health.

There are some people that can’t wear masks such as those listed here:

  1. Young children under the age of 11 (Public Health England do not recommend face coverings for children under the age of 3 for health and safety reasons)
  2. Not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  3. If putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
  4. If you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
  5. To avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others
  6. To avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
  7. To eat and drink if reasonably necessary or in order to take medication
  8. If a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering

If you are in a risk group then some of these can seem confusing because some places such as public transport are requiring facemasks. At a recent hospital no one could enter or sit in a waiting room without a face mask so #6 about not having one is odd. Those with autism can be exempt if its too distressing however what I have heard for some with autism is that they won’t leave the home without one and can get irritated with people who are unmasked. There are Sunflower lanyards from organisations like https://hiddendisabilitiesstore.com/ for hidden disabilities so people know you may have additional needs.

So, what helps the emotional overload at this time?

  1. Journaling or writing 10 or 20 minutes each day.
  2. Online counselling – OLT counsellors and supervisors https://bit.ly/30U6plX
  3. Music
  4. Going out when less busy
  5. Contact at least one person each day – family, friends, online social group, neighbours.

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