EDP - not alone campaign

EDP launches new mental health campaign

Eastern Daily Press has launched a new mental health campaign to tackle loneliness during social isolation.

The aim of the newspaper is to try and ensure people not to become mentally ill during these times of social isolation and show solidarity to those who may be feeling the strain at this, particularly tough time.

Stay home to save lives may be the message when it comes to combating the coronavirus pandemic, but that has meant many of us battling with new mental health challenges in recent weeks.

From those who are potentially vulnerable to Covid-19 self-isolating, to parents who are homeschooling, key workers pressing on with vital roles, people furloughed from their job and those working from home – all of us are facing new challenges at the moment.

So, Eastern Daily Press has decided to send this message that you are ‘Not Alone’ and encourage readers to show their support, particularly for those who battle with anxiety or depression issues.

Readers were asked to participate by posting a short video on social media using #NotAlone to offer their tips on the best way to keep a clear mind and a positive outlook or email the video to the newspaper.

David Powles, the editor of the EDP and Norwich Evening News, said: “There has rightly been a lot of focus on physical health over the last few weeks, but I’m concerned that as the isolation period extends we need to really look after our mental health as well. Through this campaign, we just want to remind people to try and stay as positive as possible, remember that this will not last forever and to look out for yourself and each other. If every person picked a minimum of five of their friends and family to stay in close contact with and keep an eye on their well-being, I think it could make a real difference.”

The public’s reaction to the campaign was very positive, with a host of passionate mental health advocates giving their support to underline the importance of staying close to our family and friends during this difficult period.

Ben Langley, comedian and panto star of the Norwich Theatre Royal, said: “I want to contribute towards good feeling and positivity at this time, so please remember to stay positive as much as you can, this isn’t going to last forever. Follow the government guidelines and just remember we are all in this together. We’re all in the same boat, which in a way is quite comforting, I feel.”

Charlie Hodson, chef at the Crown Inn in Northwold, mentioned: Text your mate, call your mate, Skype your mate, Instagram your mate, tweet your mate – one thing you mustn’t do, please don’t visit your mate! We can beat Covid-19 together but also at the same time, watch out for each other, look out for each other and keep each other safe.”

Public Health England (PHE) has released mental health and wellbeing help in recent days, providing guidance for anyone feeling vulnerable during the social restrictions put in place to combat the spread of Covid-19, with backing from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

You can watch the video contributions here. If you’d like to record a video message of hope and contribute to this initiative, you can send them to david.freezer@archant.co.uk or by tagging @EDP24 or @eveningnews on Twitter and using the #NotAlone hashtag.