The Importance of Mental Health Related Charities
Mental health is often treated as a taboo subject. While many younger people have become more open in discussing their diagnoses and therapy, the older generations and some cultures still treat mental illness as something to hide. And even among those who are willing to talk and seek help, there is the question of accessibility. The growing divide between the wealthiest and the poorest in our nation reflects itself in the difficulty that those in need may experience in getting treatment and support. It has been shown, via the most recent Marmont Review, that poverty and low living standards are both detrimental to mental health.
Recently, the pandemic has further threatened the mental well-being of vulnerable populations through isolation, and a lost sense of hope. Health related charities, especially those addressing mental health, are more important than ever. Since its inception, a third of the funds raised by The Health Lottery has gone to support mental health charities.
Isolation and Loneliness
Some of the biggest challenges that face those with mental illness are an overbearing sense of self loathing, a lack of self worth, and isolation. With the recent lockdowns and social distancing, those that do not have outside support, or even support within their own household, are struggling to make sense of everything and maintain their balance. Thankfully some of the very charities that our society lottery scheme supports, such as Headspace Bolton, Havering Mind, and Coffee Cup Choir, have all been able to move from physical meetings to online support sessions.
Headspace Bolton has turned to using Skype as a means for everyone to stay in contact and work on projects together, much like they would if everyone was able to meet in person. Due to moving meetings and projects to online, some members are able to participate even more than they were prior to the quarantine due to health issues that often already kept them housebound.
Other organizations have turned to other forms of online communications; Havering Mind is utilising Facebook to host online disco dance parties as a way to bring music and dancing to those that need it most. Some groups, such as the Coffee Cup Choir, are also using this time of social distancing to work on new projects, or set up online classes for people to participate in, not only helping combat loneliness, but also boosting their self worth as they learn new skills.
Another factor that is affecting mental health and wellness during these unprecedented times is the added stress and fear that the pandemic has instilled in everyone. The World Health Organization has acknowledged the added strain and stress the virus has caused individuals as many worry about contracting the virus, a friend or loved one contracting it, what changes and disruptions have occurred in daily life because of the pandemic combined with the fear of losing a job, not being able to pay bills, homeschooling children, lack of outside human contact, and a plethora of other concerns. These concerns are often amplified for those that rely on consistency and a normal daily routine as often, the smallest changes can upset an established delicate balance.
Many mental health and addiction services have seen an upswell in those seeking help, which is why contributions from our charity lottery to mental health related charities are needed now more than ever before.