Today marks one year since Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK into the first lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic. Over this past year, many of us have experienced varying levels of concern, tragedy, and degradations to mental wellbeing, alongside more positive experiences such as an increased appreciation for our loved ones, friends, and even strangers.
As we appear to be creeping towards more lenient restrictions following a year of gloom, it is understandable that many continue to turn their attention towards community and spiritual leaders in the hopes that they can shine a world-brightening perspective on everything. Of course, the negative impacts of modern society and the lockdown on mental health affects people from all walks of life, even those in positions of authority and in leadership.
The Very Revd. David Monteith, the Dean of Leicester, spoke to us about his experiences during the coronavirus pandemic, and how he has managed to cope during the lockdown. His thoughts on the mental health challenges we face as a society, and the way in which many seemingly have turned towards religion are an enlightening view on the state of our community. David said: “The lockdown started when I was signed off work with depression. So even before the lockdown started I knew something about this myself. It was really bizarre, because just as I was beginning to feel a bit better, and was getting ready to come out of my front door again and meet the world at large, the world at large had suddenly closed down. It was a very odd sense of timing for me, and I was sort of coming out of my own dark times as others were entering into them. I had to be very self-aware and I was very conscious that I could enter into a downward spiral if I wasn’t careful.” The positivity that has arisen amidst the darkness of the past year, which has been a frightening one for a lot of people, has been incredibly inspiring, as many have recognised the need for community spirit and togetherness too.
In honour of all those that have sadly lost their lives, or lost their loved ones during the pandemic, we are wearing our Covid19 Flower Badges with pride. We also show our solidarity and thanks to those front-line workers who have tirelessly worked to keep others safe and to keep our community functioning as normally as possible. There are not enough words to thank these people for their dedication and sacrifice and they will always be in our thoughts.
Visit alwaysinourthoughts.com/get-involved/ to find out how you can show your support for those affected by covid-19.
You can watch the full interview with David below:
By Sam Ellison