As we reach 8 months of Covid-19 restrictions we know things remain tough for everyone - and for many it may feel like things have just got even tougher. Whether you’ve just gone into a second national lockdown, have just come out of one or are grappling with an overwhelming number of tiers, we’re all dealing with a way of life that can be draining for our mental health and means we can’t meet mates or family or do the things that help us get through the day.
We know it’s tough because we’re hearing from record numbers of you every day about the struggles you’re facing. As of last week, we have already exceeded 2019's TOTAL number of calls & chats answered. That’s testament to the amazing work of our helpline team but also shows how difficult 2020 has been.
And it shows that CALM's life-saving services continue to be needed more than ever. Since the beginning of lockdown we have answered 84,954 calls and webchats - and directly prevented 282 suicides. That’s over 14,500 hours talking to people and 767,260 chat messages exchanged around topics such as isolation, anxiety, relationship concerns, health worries, financial stress and suicidal thoughts.
In that time our brilliant supporters have also gone above and beyond and helped us raise vital money for our services, against the odds. At a time when I know many people are struggling financially this is an extraordinary achievement and has allowed us to be there for so many more people. Each £8 raised could help fund another potentially life-saving call so it does make such a life-changing difference, especially now as we enter a new wave of restrictions.
And being there for anyone who needs us is crucial. We know the issues that people have faced this year will only be exacerbated by the new restrictions and that they will once again have far-reaching implications on our mental health and wellbeing, whether that’s for frontline workers or for university students. And as the days get shorter, and the nights darker we know all this can feel very daunting, but, we also know that together, by all looking out for each other we can get through this.
There are little things you can do to help yourself as well. Remember the things that helped you get through the first lockdown. Remember that routine is really important too and will help to give your day a purpose. And also remember to continue to check in on people - a text, a call, a video chat, a walk in the park. Those things can all make such a difference to people who may feel alone or anxious. We’ll have loads of advice to help you navigate what’s ahead and get through these new restrictions.
But most importantly go easy on yourself and stick to the things you can control - don’t put pressure on yourself to do more than just feel OK. There are so many things that have happened this year that are outside of what we can control and we all need to give ourselves a break.
And finally, always remember we are here and will continue to be here for you, no matter what. Our helpline is open every day, 5pm to midnight to provide free, confidential support. We’ve updated our get help pages with more information so you can access advice and support whenever you need it. And we’ll be sharing advice to help you get through to the end of this weird year and hopefully we can start to look forward with optimism.
Back in March I said that Coronavirus is here, and it looks likely it’ll be part of our daily life for a little while to come. I could not have imagined how much it would affect every aspect of our lives, but together we’ve got through so much already this year and we can get through this as well. Covid, lockdowns, all of this - like everything else - is temporary. This WILL change so let’s stay united and make sure that we all support each other. And if you do find yourself struggling, remember, we’re here for you whenever you need us.