The first of Barnet Wellbeing Service’s monthly columns on mental health and wellbeing in these complex times By Fehintola Kolawole
The latest lockdown has been challenging for many of us, as the long-term health and economic impact of the pandemic continues to affect us all. With schools shut and the darkness of the middle of winter, it is not surprising that we speak to so many people who are struggling. Still, there are small things you might do to help with low-mood and lockdown fatigue.
In 2008, the New Economics Foundation produced a report called Mental Capital and Wellbeing which brought together a simple summary of the ways we can support our own mental health. The ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’ are to: connect, be active, take notice, keep learning and give. These themes have since been adopted by the NHS and other national organisations to help us think about ways we can be more resilient. This month we will focus on ‘connect’.
We would recommend that you think of new ways to connect with the people around you; these connections will support and enrich you every day. After ten months of Zoom calls, perhaps, you might like to think of people you haven’t spoken to during the pandemic. Are there friends you haven’t heard from in a while who might be struggling? Could you be creative and write to them, or make something for someone? Could you volunteer to connect with someone you don’t know as a Befriender, mentor or think about who might be able to support you or teach you something? Good relationships are essential for our mental wellbeing: providing a sense of belonging, self-worth, and emotional support. I would encourage you to take a moment this month to think about how you might connect with someone new.
If you are struggling, please contact The Barnet Wellbeing Service which is free and available to those who work, live and or study in Barnet. The Wellbeing Service helps with mental and emotional needs through a wide range of holistic support for residents including personalised support at the Barnet Wellbeing Hub, group support through the community IAPT workshops and additional assistance through BEHMHT clinical support. The service is commissioned by North Central London CCG and led by CommUNITY Barnet.
Since its inception in 2017, the Barnet Wellbeing Service has supported over 5000 clients. In the last year during the Covid-19 pandemic, the service has fully adapted to the needs of the public through a range of online and remote services and support.
We hope that many residents continue to seek the support available to them through the various services in Barnet and we look forward to sharing more information about the wider wellbeing offer – as well as discussing some of the smaller things that we might do to look after ourselves during the lockdown and beyond in 2021. For more information, please go to the Barnet Wellbeing website.