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Coronavirus: Fears for those with pre-existing mental health conditions

Coronavirus: Fears for those with pre-existing mental health conditions

Published by May Norman at 10:16am 21st May 2020.

'Lockdown can bring back some painful memories'

  • A Harrogate mum has raised concerns about the impact of lockdown on people who've suffered mental health issues previously.
  • Jo McGregor, who has suffered postnatal depression before, is worried anyone struggling during isolation could be suffering in silence.
  • The mum-of-three is urging people to access available support networks if they're struggling.

A Harrogate mum who has suffered from her own mental health problems fears lockdown will be toughest on those with pre-existing mental health conditions.

Jo McGregor has previously suffered postnatal depression and wants to make sure people who are worried to reach out to the support networks are out there.

Jo McGregor-family
Jo McGregor and her family during lockdown

The 36-year-old mum-of-three first suffered postnatal depression (PND) in 2011 after having her first son, Finley.

Jo went on to have another two boys and each time suffered from forms of PND.

Now on Mental Health Awareness week, Jo has been speaking to Stray FM over fears the coronavirus lockdown will bring back painful memories for those who've suffered from mental health problems before.

She's told us:

"If you have had a pre-existing mental health condition, a lot of the stuff we're doing during lockdown is really reminiscent of those tough times.

"Previously, when I had a depressive episode you don't leave the house, you are withdrawn, you don't communicate with people and you lose the structure of a normal day. It is tough."

Jo McGregor 2
Jo McGregor

Jo - who volunteers at local peer support groups - is concerned being stuck at home will trigger painful times for some.

Having suffered postnatal depression herself, she says the current situation can have its effect on anyone.

She told us:

"Even if you are going through a period where you are well, it will trigger memories of previous episodes but also for those who've not suffered before. 

"It could also trigger low moods in those who've not had mental health issues before as we're all experiencing isolation and a lack of routine.

"If you're suffering, please don't suffer in silence - help is out there. Please access it."

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NEVER ALONE: Support is out there. This probably won’t get all the likes or engagement but it doesn’t matter. Please share if you can, because the way I see it, if we help one struggling mum access safe support during this time we will have achieved something. Tap on the image to see some of the many wonderful organisations helping mums and still running during lockdown (sometimes in a more limited way of course). Help is out there! I’ve stuck with national level as there is only so much space (and so many tags on a picture) but please know tonnes is still happening on a local level, particularly from some wonderful charities, so do look to see what’s available to you (GPS, midwives and health visitors are a great source of knowledge for this). . . Please note, I champion safe support and therefore have taken great care in selecting these services (and a special thanks goes to the wonderful @jessicawarne who worked with me) to ensure this list is chock full of reputable organisations. Please always make sure you are comfortable with a particular organisations guidelines and policies when reaching out. . . #mentalhealthmatters #mentalhealthwellness #mentalhealthawareness #mentalhealth #maternalmentalhealth #maternalmentalhealthawareness #maternalmentalhealthawarenessweek #MMHAWeek #mendingmumsminds #pnd #pndawareness #ppd #postnataldepression #postpartumdepression #depressionawareness #pndsupport #mumsminds #stopthestigma #breakthestigma #mentalhealthformums #strongertogether #shouldertoshoulder #mentalhealthrecovery #depressionwearslippy #mentalillness #itsgoodtotalk #mentalhealthrecovery #suicideprevention #mentalillness

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Jo helps run the Harrogate support group of 'Hey Mama'.

Hey Mama is an online community run by mums for all those experiencing emotional difficulties and mental health issues during pregnancy and after birth.

It is a space for Mamas to support one another in a non-judgemental and supportive space.

There are branches in Harrogate, Shipley and Idle, Bradford.

In addition, Jo runs baby classes based on mindfulness - more details can be found on the Baby Mindful Harrogate Facebook pages.

What other support is available?

If anyone is struggling with their mental health, GPs are still available to reach out to even during lockdown - so please contact your local GP.

Alternatively, you can self refer for NHS counseling via IAPT - details can be found here.