Wellbeing

Wellbeing is an experience, a sensation of happiness and overall health. It is unique to each of us but is something we all seek to achieve. Our wellbeing can change over time, it requires self-awareness and care. Some may say that once we have achieved wellbeing, we experience a sense of harmony in our lives.

An ethnic's perspective of Wellbeing in Covid times

To live meaningfully is important to many, whether it is done by pursuing private goals, education, job success, healthy living, or engaging into culture, everyone holds a subjective view on the definition of a meaningful life by experiencing different opportunities. Our differences as people is what allows society to integrate well and remain effectively functional.

LOCKDOWN DANGERS ON MENTAL HEALTH

DOMESTIC ABUSE

  • Less job security, financial support = make women stay with their abusers

  • Immigration status at risk

  • Less police, social services physical intervention and protection

  • Language barriers, limited access/availability of interpreters from services

TOXIC CULTURE

  • Partners, or elder family generations use culture/religion reinforcing control to justify abuse 

Life in Lockdown

The pandemic has been a difficult journey to overcome. Since 2020, national lockdowns and guidelines have been introduced to keep people safe and retain the virus, but this came at the unaccounted price of increased risk in mental and physical wellbeing, not just for the patient population, but everyone.

 

Since March 2020, statistics and risks in mental health have risen and although information is available for these difficult situations, not much practical mediation is offered to ethnic communities who might be managing more battles than one.

BLM, Brexit, and Anti-Lockdown/Masks movements were some of 2020’s highlights, influencing different subgroups voicing their beliefs and values. For BLM, it was a matter of fighting for basic freedom and equity, discouraged with concerns of spreading COVID-19, but for anti-maskers it was privilege and obnoxiousness overtaking morality.

 

The contradictory backlash was proven with much debate; one displayed freedom of expression whilst the other showed inconvenience

Reports of anxiety and depression during COVID-19 pandemic 2020

Stuck in a bubble

There is always a different story behind closed doors, and lockdown has made it easier for them to remain hidden, making it harder for victims to escape their abusers.

 

For white counterparts, it is easier to access services and family support. Nevertheless, for ethnic groups, different factors limit their accessibility to get help, especially since COVID-19. Even today, some women have constrained access to technology, money, and basic needs that give them independency.

 

Disclosing abuse is not a common option because of the shame it brings onto the family, often leading victims, especially women, to bear guilt, questioning, “what will people say?”.

Services remain understaffed in response to regulations, which bounds access for susceptible people who aren’t as educated or fluent English speakers.

These boundaries can engrave emotional vulnerability that consequently construct Depression, Anxiety, self-harm, low-life satisfaction etc., and the longer these issues remain, the greater the adverse effects become.

EDUCATION

  • Online learning

  • Institutionalised racism/discrimination

  • Peaceful Protesting

LOW – QUALITY WORK AND FINANCES

  • Demand for low-skilled workforce

  • Monetary stability

  • Workplace Safety

High risk of COVID contraction and fatality rates

“No two persons ever read the same book.”

Edmund Wilson

A new lifestyle

COVID-19 evidently setback healthcare services and hospitals. With the rapid growth in patients and risk, more key workers are needed to preserve quality care for lower rates of pay, compared to the average non-key worker. Most key workers are also racially diverse, and statistics have exposed that ethnic minorities have disproportionately higher fatality rates than their white colleagues, simply from greater exposure of these settings.

Justifiably, frontline staff are greatly susceptible, but the community fails to contemplate on the staff working tirelessly in supermarkets, general stores, fast food chains etc., who are also key workers, to stabilise the economy. COVID-19 has produced a new form of inequality between companies and their workforces when it comes to safety.

These key workers have the same responsibilities to uphold care and safety to their customers as frontline staff, but with less emphasis on advocating their own safety from the public.

The education experience for young people has been compromised since guidelines replaced face-to-face teaching with virtual learning, and for most ethnic subgroups, quality higher education and good grades are the most important tools they’ll need to take into the adult world, to combat preceding racial and class inequalities.

Despite students agreeing that institution closures are necessary, this should not be at the expense of education quality, which has been vocalised on numerously as concerns and anxiety increase amongst students regarding their current attainments and the potential outcomes for when their educational journey ends.

Working at home has more obstacles than the government has estimated. For ethnic young adults, mental health has been stigmatised for many years. With such harmful transitions into bedroom environments, it may further damage the wellbeing of underprivileged young people, who already have more loud, disruptive, and negative experiences of home than their well-off counterparts. BAME groups correspondingly inhabit deprived areas more for its affordability.

 

Although, minimal attention from the government and lack of access to government schemes adds to the distress on families living situations, especially the younger people who work to financially aid their parents.

For some, this means working 25+ hours on minimum wage alongside full-time education, when the national guided hours for students are 15. All these factors help produce inconsistency, fatigue, and inattention which can start the spiral of mental health decline. 

 Population affected by Coronavirus

Conclusion

Without understanding worthy mental health, society can never function in full capacity. Regardless of the modern era openly discussing and inspiring positive wellbeing, the devastation of COVID-19 has regressed this development through isolation.

 The hardships ethnic minorities face have stemmed deeply, causing them to fall back to their coping mechanisms. Yet, some strategies are negative and can dent their confidence, resilience and encourage spectrums of behaviours which prevent constructive daily living.

Stress and COVID-19

The pandemic empowered ignorance towards ethnic groups experiences within family life, education, employment etc., alongside their pre-existent hardships. Considering this, greater acknowledgements need investigating to accommodate everyone. It’s important not to generalise but empathise the challenges people face, and carefully tailor services and advice.

 

HPS aims to build rapports with clients and hierarchies of steps to achieve fulfilment and goals rather than just passive listening.

Progress begins when you focus on what you cannot see, and only when you accept someone’s current being, can you help them grow.

An ethnic's perspective of Wellbeing in Covid times

Author |  Saniya Karim

References                                                                 

Francis-Devine, B. (2020). Coronavirus: Which key workers are most at risk? Commonslibrary.parliament.uk. House of Commons Library. https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/coronavirus-which-key-workers-are-most-at-risk/

GOV.UK. (2020, December 17). Ethnicity Spotlight. GOV.UK; GOV.UK. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-mental-health-and-wellbeing-surveillance-spotlights/ethnicity-covid-19-mental-health-and-wellbeing-surveillance-report

Mautz, S. (2019, October 24). 5 Ways You’re Contributing to a Toxic Culture Without Realizing It. Inc.com; Inc. https://www.inc.com/scott-mautz/5-ways-youre-contributing-to-a-toxic-culture-without-realizing-it.html

Panchal, N., Kamal, R., Orgera, K., Muñana, C., & Chidambaram, P. (2020, April 21). The Implications of COVID-19 for Mental Health and Substance Use. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation; KFF. https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/the-implications-of-covid-19-for-mental-health-and-substance-use/

Reopen Economy After Coronavirus Lockdown, Restart Business in Normal Operation After Peak of Coronavirus Covid-19 Outbreak Concept, Government Hand Unlock the Cage and Businessman Return to Work. (n.d.). Freepik; Freepik company. Retrieved February 1, 2021, from https://www.freepik.com/premium-vector/reopen-economy-after-coronavirus-lockdown-restart-business-normal-operation-after-peak-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak-concept-government-hand-unlock-cage-businessman-return-work_7714845.htm

Edmund Wilson Quotes. BrainyQuote.com. Retrieved February 5, 2021, from https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/edmund_wilson_11010

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