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With it being mental health awareness week, we have worked to provide information about some of the positive VCSE organisations working to support mental health. For many people, there is a light at the end of the tunnel now we are entering into the next phase of the roadmap. But for others, there is still going to be an unmet need because of re-entry anxiety.

What is re-entry anxiety?

Re-entry anxiety is the name given to the complex thought patterns surrounding returning to ‘normal’ in society. For over 14 months, many people have become used to going out less, seeing fewer people and doing things differently. If we can remember back to the beginning, there was a period of adjustment for us all as we went into lockdown. Thinking about going back to work or using public transport again could induce feelings of stress, anxiety and overwhelm.

How many people suffer from it?

This is difficult to quantify, since the situation is relatively new. As many as 25% of people may be feeling anxiety at any one time, during a ‘normal’ year. However, the long period of time in restrictions mean everyone is susceptible to feeling unsettled. Change can be difficult for anyone.

How can I manage these feelings?

Firstly, you need to know is that it is OK to take your time. Some people may be rushing to get to the nearest pub on Monday. But if it feels too soon for you, rest assured that you can set personal boundaries. Secondly, remember to talk to someone. This might be a friend, or even a therapist. We frequently realise when we talk to others that we are not alone in our feelings. Thirdly, be mindful of sensory overload. Things have been quiet and still for a lot of the time we have been in lockdown. This is going to change: this too shall pass. Finally, try to have fun. Look for things you are excited to do.

Fortunately, there is a lot of support in Cornwall’s voluntary sector. For a list of VCSE organisations who support mental health, please visit our directory.