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53 MILLION ADULTS STILL IMPACTED BY POOR MENTAL HEALTH POST LOCKDOWN

According to new research released by WWTW today, Brits are still suffering an impact on their mental health caused by lockdowns enforced during the pandemic. 4 in 5 of those surveyed said that they still suffer from the effects on their mental health. This number equates to over 53 million adults, even since lockdown restrictions were lifted.


The research was commissioned to support Walking With The Wounded’s ‘Walking Home for Christmas’ campaign, raising money to support brave veterans who served our country. This year, the Walking Home for Christmas campaign aims to ensure nobody is left behind from lockdown, focusing on the mental health epidemic that has engulfed the country during the pandemic.

Of the 2,000 UK adults surveyed in October 2021, it is evident that the mental health impact caused by the pandemic is ongoing. Over a third (36%) suffered from increased anxiety; 32% felt isolated and alone, with an equal amount suffering from loneliness. Worryingly, months after the lifting of lockdown, 4 in 5 said their mental health had not improved.

Carolyn Brown, Clinical Lead at Walking With The Wounded, comments: "Lockdowns have a massive impact on our very way of life, so it is not surprising that many suffered from poor mental health during this period or that it is still openly talked about across society. But what is concerning is the vast number of people who are still suffering, many months later. I am pleased to see that so many questioned got help, whether via a professional or family, loved ones, or friends. It is essential to talk, open up, and address the issues if we are to improve our mental health."

Alongside the mental health impact, it also has a demonising effect on our physical health, ability to work, and our relationships. A fifth of respondents felt that their relationships had become noticeably strained during the lockdowns; 4 in 5 of those admitted there had been no improvement since restrictions have been lifted. This is possibly due to 17% of those who admitted that the feelings they have felt during the pandemic are alien to them. These feelings and their impact are something that many veterans who need Walking With The Wounded’s support will understand. Joel Oxberry, Head of Income at Walking With The Wounded, explains:

"The survey responses prove what many of us already know about the impact of lockdown on our mental health. But we must draw our attention to how many have admitted - even months later - that their mental health has not improved.

Our ‘nobody left behind from lockdown’ theme for Walking Home For Christmas this year is to ensure mental health conversations continue. Our beneficiaries, the veterans we support following their return to civilian life, will suffer many of the feelings we admit to feeling post-lockdown as part of everyday life. Many veterans find that their mental health causes issues in their relationships with others, their ability to seek and find work, and for some, it can lead to problems with alcohol and drug abuse. Our mental health support programme, Head Start, working closely with the NHS, provides veterans with professional counselling and therapy sessions when they need it most, delivering on average an allocated therapist within seven working days and within 4 miles of their home and has been proven to lead to sustainable employment as some choose to engage with the charity's employment programme.

This year, the Walking Home For Christmas website features the fundraising leaderboard and showcases the number of mental health sessions that have been funded so far, through monies raised. This year, we are encouraging more groups to sign up to walk for veterans and fundraise for the campaign whilst sharing their own mental health stories. A brisk walk in the fresh air is a great way to blow away the winter cobwebs. As we spent much of last Christmas unable to spend time together, it provides an opportunity for friends, colleagues, hobby groups and more to come together. What better feeling than knowing as you do so, you will be raising vital funds for vulnerable veterans, for whom the impact of mental health could be a long-term reality."

Walking Home for Christmas is an annual fundraising campaign for Walking With The Wounded. The campaign encourages anyone from any walk of life to register and fundraise by undertaking a walk to support veterans that need it. Walkers from previous years have dedicated their walks to loved ones who have been in or have fallen serving our country, have dressed in fancy dress, run errands for or supported their local community. To read more about previous walkers' stories and register to do a walk between 10-20 December this year, visit www.walkinghomeforchristmas.com