1. ITV Report

How isolation is affecting the mental health of society's most vulnerable

  • Video report by ITV News Meridian's Sarah Saunders

As we continue to highlight Mental Health Awareness Week, ITV News Meridian has been looking at how coronavirus is bringing mental health challenges to vulnerable people in our communities.

While lockdown restrictions have begun to ease, allowing many to start venturing out more, there are those who must continue to isolate.

77-year-old Linda Davies from Herne Bay lives alone.

To protect her health, she is self-isolating and hasn't left her home for weeks.

It does make me feel depressed, I've always been a person to get up at the crack of dawn, start doing things, get out, and now I lay there and I think I don't want to get up today what is the point, get up get dressed but it's the same old thing. Especially on a really bad day and you look and you think 'what's the point, what is the point of going on'. And family phone me and it's nice but it's not the same - and you long just to see them."

– Linda Davies

While staying home for their health is risking a loneliness epidemic among some older people, there is help out there.

Linda has family and the charity Age UK has been offering support.

A lot of our guys come to us for company so we are trying to combat that with weekly phone calls, checking in on people, just to break the day up a little bit."

– Lainey Farrent, Age UK Herne Bay
Identical twin boys Edward and Austin

While some face lockdown alone, others are facing isolation as a family.

Four year old identical twin boys Edward and Austin have leukemia, so the whole family must shield until what is likely to be next year.

The only place we go is to hospital, that's it. There is no break. I live in groundhog day basically. It's going to be tougher when everyone else can really mix - and we still can't."

– Sian Milne, Mother
Katie Tupling is a disability advisor for the diocese of Berkshire and Oxfordshire

According to ONS figures, another group hard hit by isolation are those with disabilities.

Born with cerebral palsy, Katie Tupling is a disability advisor for the diocese of Berkshire and Oxfordshire.

She says there is a lot support out there and that no one should feel that they can't pick up the phone.

There are a lot of people out there that are doing a lot of good things. Don't feel that you're not entitled, or you shouldn't, or a sense of pride, that 'well I don't want to bother these people'. They're out there, community organising, to make sure that you are taken care of. Pick up the phone, ring someone and just say 'I'm feeling lonely, can I have a chat?'"

– Revd Katie Tupling, Disability Advisor

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