This year, Mental Health Awareness Week runs from 10 – 16 May and the chosen theme this year is nature.
During the long months of the pandemic, many of us experienced mental health problems, watched a loved one struggle, or just been generally more aware of our own mental health and wellbeing. It is sadly reported that 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.
Many of us have recently taken to our green spaces and found comfort from being outdoors, whether this has been sitting in the garden listening to the birds or walking around the local park. The Mental Health Foundation emphasises that nature has a unique ability to not only bring consolation in times of stress, but also increase our creativity, empathy and sense of wonder. Even a small amount of contact with nature can reduce feelings of social isolation and be effective in protecting our mental health.
During the pandemic, many people already diagnosed with mental health conditions were advised to ‘shield’ away from others or have simply been unable to go outside at all. In some cases, this has been simply due to the place they live in, for example, in a care home or other setting. The increased restrictions in care homes in particular have been widely reported in the media. With these people already the most vulnerable in society, deterioration in their health over the last year has been a real concern.
Only as recently as 4 May 2021, the government published guidance to enable care home residents to go out for ‘low risk’ outdoor trips, whilst most of us have been able to take solace in getting out for walks and for our daily exercise over the last year.
Where people with dementia (for example) have been unable to see their loved ones for a prolonged period, this may have caused their condition to progress more quickly than it otherwise might have done. A deterioration in this condition may have led to people not being able to recognise family members when visits and trips out have finally recommenced, which will of course be very difficult for family members to come to terms with.
Similarly, the pandemic will have undoubtedly had a negative impact on a lot of people with other diagnosed conditions in particular, such as autism, where access to services and a consistent routine is really important. This may have not been possible due to the ever changing government guidance and closure of many services.
Our Court of Protection team regularly act on behalf of vulnerable adults lacking mental capacity (due to a diagnosed mental impairment or condition) and are specialists in resolving social care disputes. If there is a dispute with adult social care at the local authority or care home / management of the care facility in respect of the placement itself, the care being provided or continued restrictions on contact with your loved ones, our Court of Protection team may be able to assist.
For more information on what types of issues our Court of Protection team may be able to assist with, visit: Court of Protection
To find out more about Mental Health Awareness Week 2021, visit: Nature & Mental Health - #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek
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