Whilst the world continues mobilizing to control the substantial spread of COVID-19, we should not lose the sight of an equally alarming issue – the traumatic long-term mental health impact the pandemic is having, and going to leave on us. As a result of an outbreak and increasing prevalence of COVID-19, we were urgently required to extensively prioritize and protect our, and others physical health by keeping the social distance, washing and sanitizing hands, wearing a mask, etc.; yet, in recent weeks, I have been led to wonder, what about our mental well-being? Has it been forgotten? If all the lockdown rules were placed to ‘save lives’, what about individuals who have an anxiety, those prone to depression, or mentally vulnerable ones who are constantly fighting the invisible war within themselves?
Coming from the scientific background, I cannot help but to bring out the most recent findings; results of an extensive longitudinal study comprising 53, 351 participants living across the UK has found a severe deterioration with regards to one’s psychological well-being in terms of comparison between prior and post-COVID 19 (Pierce, Hope, Fold et al., 2020), indicating that the overall mental health decreased dramatically within the UK as soon as pandemic hit, so the main concern is, how are we going to support those with mental illness in this time of uncertainty, when we do not know whether the pandemic will end or life will ever return to normal.
As a PhD student researching mental-health, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of simple act of kindness; a large body of psychological well-being literature suggests a deep and inseparable connection between kindness and mental health. The smallest act of genuine kindness, such as sharing a smile, making a cup of tea for your coworker, checking up on the elderly neighbors, telling someone why you are thankful for them, showing the appreciation or sending a simple ‘good morning’ message can significantly improve one’s emotional well-being, whether one is giving it or receiving it.
Recently I also became a part of Mont Rose College family, I am so proud to be a part of Student Services team, where we work closely together with Welfare department, and trying our best to adjust, and embed a new approach to ensure that every student receive the best support, not only with regards to their educational needs, but also when it comes to their psychological well-being. Liaising closely with personal tutors (and other internal/external partners as appropriate), we aim to ensure that students in need are dealt with tactfully, sensitively and confidentially, and are provided a professional, specialist advice in line with college policies and procedures. For each student we always maintain a case work portfolio in order to track their progress and provide an extensive, continuous support by responding to any concerns, and addressing their personal challenges. So if you are reading this, please know that whatever is it that you are going through, Mont Rose College doors are always open and we are here to support you. You are lucky because we not only offer a caring heart and a listening ear, but also a cup of tea and plenty of chocolate. I look forward to seeing you!