- Gwin Masaka
The isolation pandemic
Despite the popularity of social media, social isolation is an issue that plagues modern society more and more as time goes by; The recent Covid 19 pandemic has made many of us experience social isolation more than ever before. While most worried about the dangers of socialising and spreading the virus, fewer people took time to consider the other edge of the sword – chronic isolation and loneliness and the bigger picture concerning national mental health.
Chronic isolation causes people to feel overwhelming solitude and find it difficult to connect with others, it inevitably intertwines with various other mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Pre-existing mental health conditions can cause one to become lonely, however loneliness can also cause mental health issues. Statistics show a clear connection; Data captured on almost 3,000 older people, over three years, showed that loneliness scores were highly associated with depression symptoms and anxiety.
Spending time alone can cause one to overthink, and get lost in negative thought patterns, it’s destructive for mental health. Statistics show us this, so what does this mean for a nation with countless people shielding & isolating? Where we must socially distance, and the possibility of another lockdown still seems like it could be lurking on the horizon and a covid free “normal” world does not.
This essentially means our exhausted NHS will have a heavier burden to bear, unless we do something about it; This is why Gwinyai Mas
aka sprang into action and created Social Call Services. Social Call Services is here to kill two birds with one stone by supporting those suffering from chronic isolation, loneliness, depression and other mental health issues. This will lighten the NHS workload and reduce the taxpayers expense on mental health.
The average wait for NHS treatment for mental health issues is 53 days, unfortunately for many by that time it may be 53 days too late. This is why our intervention at Social Call Services, and the intervention of friends and family is essential; We advocate not only for seeking professional help, but also seeking support amongst those you feel comfortable with.
When something is left untreated, the issue usually gets worse with time. If a weed is left to grow and develop strong roots, uprooting it becomes a more cumbersome task. If a fire is left to blaze, it will continue to gradually, or even rapidly spread and burn its surroundings. If a pipe is leaking and it’s not quickly isolated it can create a flood…If mental health issues are not addressed the same is true, early intervention is absolutely essential.
However while early intervention is ideal, there is always hope for all; We as individuals must aim to play our part in creating supports system for those in our society who may require them. To support the lonely, depressed, bereaved, anxious and all suffering with mental health we can make a conscious effort to check on them, provide a shoulder to lean on and a listening ear.
Mental health stigma must be broken, help must be made available and everyone must do their part; If we put the necessities in place, our situation with isolation and mental health is bound to improve.