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Covid-19 and mental health: How to stay positive in a crisis

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With both Mental Health Month and Mental Health Week fast approaching and to coincide with World Health Day (7th April), we at Morgan Hunt have been acutely aware of how the current circumstances surrounding the Coronavirus is affecting mental wellbeing.

Mental wellness was already at the forefront of everyone’s mind, but it’s even more apparent that we need to consider what the impact of Covid-19 is going to have on our employees, our candidates and our clients.

An invisible assassin

Not only has the world been introduced to an invisible assassin – which makes it terrifying to even step outside of the confines of our homes – but we now have the anxiety of not knowing what devastation this virus is going to leave in its wake.

We’ve all been told to self-isolate at home – which wasn’t too difficult in theory but is becoming really challenging in practice. Spending your days catching up on all your Netflix boxsets, finishing off all those outstanding DIY tasks you had let slide, and playing endlessly with your children isn’t how it looks in reality.

Now your days just get longer and the typical 9 to 5 is non-existent. Your weekends no longer have to fall on a Saturday and Sunday. Your life is 24/7.

So how do you begin to stay calm, let alone positive, in this strange time? The answer is simple: remember that you’re not alone.

 

Safety in numbers

Everyone knows someone who has it worse. And no one is escaping unaffected from the pandemic. The world is changing. Everyone – and everything – is changing too.

Some people are sadly self-isolating alone. Some are self-isolating with small children that they are also now expected to home school whilst still trying to work. And others are self-isolating but still having to venture out into the world every day to work because their job demands it.

There is a whole world of people going through untold challenges. From people working frontline jobs like nurses and doctors, to unsung heroes like delivery drivers, food factory workers and tradespeople. All of them would probably see self-isolation as a luxury, as they have to face the dangers of coronavirus head on, every day.

It’s healthy to try to have perspective, and to remember the sheer scale of this crisis. Everyone is struggling, and in all likelihood, many people have it worse. We have to try in the most difficult moments to appreciate and value what we do have – the small things. A combination of enjoying those simple moments, and remembering the fact we’re in this together, can only help us to have a more positive outlook.

It’s a global crisis – and there will be a global response

The majority of businesses are going to have to make cuts at this time and that’s a concern for employees across the country. The government are doing their best to reassure people and keep their jobs safe, but in reality, the state of our economy is going to be unrecognisable when we reach the other side.

According to the CiPD more than three quarters of UK workers have a permanent employment contract, be it full time or part time. And according to reports, between 50-75% of UK companies are going to furlough staff.

To put it simply, businesses are struggling – and will struggle after this crisis ends. Unemployment will go up, and financial stability will plummet. There are hard times ahead for everyone. So where do we look for hope?

First and foremost, this will end. It might not seem that way, but it will – whether through a vaccine, improved treatment, isolating it on a global scale or another unforeseen innovation.

And although it’s effects will be felt for some time, we can again take comfort in knowing that this is a global problem that will have a global reaction. We’re in it together.

Government’s will need businesses to get moving, customers to buy products and employees back in work. In our industry, that’s especially meaningful.

Recruitment will flood with opportunities. That’s why it’s so important that our industry remains focused, engaged and prepared – not just to weather this storm, but to be ready for whatever comes next. The UK will need to get back to work – and we’ll need to be there to make it happen.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, even if you can’t see it yet. This is a hard time – for most of us, the hardest. But imagine how good we’ll feel if we can come out the other side in one piece?

Just remember, whatever you’re going through, you are not alone.

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