"When I wake up sad, I only have 15 hours to feel sad, and then I go to bed even more sad."
This is Stephen Liddell's keen assessment of what his life has become. He has chronic asthma and has been protecting for months. Although it protected him from Corona virusIt exposed him to another illness.
"I'm sad or depressed most days. I can't see an end in sight. And I spend a few days just wishing I was dead because there is nothing to look forward to. There is no one that helps me. And nobody seems to care, "he told me.
Stephen moved to Bushey Heath near Watford in late January. But instead of exploring his new neighborhood and making friends, he has been isolated from the outside world for almost six months and now feels like a prisoner in his own home.
"It's like solitary confinement, but I didn't do anything wrong," he said.
Stephen works as a tour guide and he is so enthusiastic about the job that he has not had a day off since 2013. But the pandemic changed everything. His next job is in May 2021.
The lack of human contact has led to extreme depression, exacerbated by financial problems. Although he is self-employed, he does not qualify for the state support program. Without having any savings, he recently visited food banks.
Talking about his problems helps, but I was only the fifth person Stephen has spoken to since February. I suggested that he call the Samaritan hotline, which is there for everyone who has problems.
"I called two or three times, but I always hung up. I don't want to disturb people. And because I haven't spoken to anyone, it would be if I started telling all of my problems a long, long list," he said.
Stephen's story is unfortunately not unique. A study by the University of Bath has revealed the devastating effects of the block on the country's mental health.
Of the 800 participants, a quarter had significantly increased anxiety and depression, which was compounded by lockdown and isolation.
Almost 15% of the participants reached a clinical level of health fear, which means that despite medical reassurance, they are afraid of a serious illness.
This is three times what is considered a normal level of clinical health fear in the population.
Reaching the clinical level means that her health anxiety had become stressful and was likely to cause concern and disruption to normal activities.
Participants who had been classified as "vulnerable" by government category stated that they were twice as likely to have health anxiety than the general population.
Dr. Hannah Rettie of the University of Bath's Department of Psychology said, "I think it will be very important for service providers to think about how we can best support people during this time as the number of referrals could increase." There could be more people who need support. "
The study is the first to examine how people cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
"People who struggled with their mental health were more likely to use coping strategies that research suggests are not helpful in how to blame themselves, to avoid denying, to avoid trying to overcome the difficulties cope but make things worse, "said Dr. Rettie Sky news.
The researchers hope that their results will help inform clinicians about the best way to help people like Stephen.
Because although the blockage is gradually waning, they fear that the associated mental health problems will remain.
Anyone who feels emotionally desperate or at risk of suicide can call Samaritans at 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org in the UK. In the United States, call your local Samaritan office or 1 (800) 273-TALK