Today I gave a presentation to colleagues at the BBC about the psychological impact of COVID. While we talked a little about the immediate effect of COVID on mental health, our main focus was the long term psychological impact of the disease. I provided a summary of the research findings to date and we then talked about things that we could do to protect our own mental health.
As well as looking at lifestyle changes, we also practiced psychological exercises based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy principles to help us reflect on our own thought processes. This is a crucial thing to do regardless of whether one is experiencing psychological difficulties or not, as it helps to develop and strengthen healthy ways of thinking. I would argue that this is crucial at all times, and that we have a responsibility to care for our mental health in the same way as our physical health. However, given the current pressures on the NHS (especially relating to mental health), even more than ever, we have a duty to do everything we can to protect our mental health and take as much pressure off the system as possible.
This was a great opportunity to talk about some of the psychological issues that COVID has raised and one of the heartening things that we learned was that it’s not all been negative (as I have also spoken about previously)! This is really a key time for us to keep building upon the positives, and work to manage and control the negatives as much as possible.