The 10th–15th of May is Mental Health Awareness Week, an event which focuses on improving people’s mental wellbeing across the UK. This year’s theme is ‘loneliness’, something that has affected many of us at some point during our lives, and particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Mental Health Foundation have found that an increasing number of people are experiencing feelings of isolation and loneliness, which can lead to harmful consequences. We can all help fight loneliness by getting back in touch with a long-lost friend, or by visiting a neighbour you haven’t spoken to in a while. Below, we have collated a series of articles which explore the topic of mental health and highlight its impact in our society.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health conditions are being exacerbated by new stressors like social isolation. Digital mental health services (e-mental health) offer a way of providing accessible and affordable support. However, with the swift adoption of a multitude of e-mental health applications and platforms that have emerged during the pandemic, little is known about their immediate, medium or long term clinical value. To investigate this, Dr Louise Ellis at the Australian Institute of Health Innovation at Macquarie University has been researching the processes by which these e-mental health programs are being implemented in real-world practice and identify shortfalls in current implementation studies.
Working within the parliamentary, community and workplace spheres, mental health charity Mind is making waves to combat stigma surrounding mental illness and achieving significant successes along the way. Thanks to Mind’s helplines and specialist information, millions of people are now receiving advice and support for problems with mental health. Mind has also placed mental health firmly on the political agenda. After many years of campaigning, Mind saw the implementation of the Mental Health (Discrimination) Act 2013 which repealed discriminative legislation that prevented people with mental health problems from serving on a jury, being a director of a company, or serving as an MP. In this feature, Paul Farmer discusses Mind’s achievements, exciting projects in the pipeline, and long-term strategy, as well as the benefits of having a high-profile president.
Dr Rosanna Breaux of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in the USA has been conducting research to evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of adolescents, including those at risk due to pre-existing mental health conditions, specifically ADHD. This research, undertaken with her colleagues, has highlighted the need for a mental health intervention, such as the RELAX (Regulating Emotions Like An eXpert) intervention for building resilience in adolescents by imparting coping and emotion regulation skills.