Concern over how mentally prepared Sheffield people are for easing of lockdown
A councillor raised concern about the mental health struggles people might face as lockdown eases and questioned if Sheffield was prepared.
Councillor Jayne Dunn started the discussion in a recent meeting of the healthier communities and adult social care scrutiny committee.
She said: “What are we doing as a city to help employers and give advice so we can support people as they come out of lockdown?
“What messages are we sending out to help everybody come back to normal because it isn’t going to be easy.
“The expectation is that this is going to be great, it’s going to be a party and if you suddenly feel that you can’t then people will go ‘you must be nuts’. People use language like that, it’s inappropriate because everybody is different.
“So we need to get this messaging, we are an amazing city in how we handle everything and every single one of us and every organisation has to help come out of that and I think that will probably be one of our biggest challenges.”
Heather Burns, head of commissioning mental health at Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, said work done at the start of Covid-19 to give psychological wellbeing advice should be revisited and a number of partners across the city should work together on the issue.
She added: “In terms of how we come out of lockdown, I think it is going to be extremely challenging. The IAPT service has tried to do reach-out programmes to employers but I think that is something we need to work with a number of partners across the city on.
“It’s okay not to be okay, we have all gone through this pandemic…Everybody has been impacted.
“It’s perfectly acceptable to have bad days and good days, that doesn’t mean you are developing a mental illness.
“We won’t come out of this unscathed as a population and what we need to try to do is make people feel it’s okay not to feel okay, seek help, guidance and that health and wellbeing support that’s available and then we need to be targeting programmes to people that do need additional support.”