Monday 10 October 2022: Today is World Mental Health Day. In Bermuda, the theme for this year is Make Mental Health and Wellbeing for All a Bermuda Priority.
Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) commissioned questions in September’s Bermuda Omnibus survey. The results showed more residents between 18 and 35 rated their mental health as being worse since the pandemic than those in older age groups. Thirty-two residents in this age group deemed their mental health somewhat worse or much worse than before the pandemic, compared with 21 people in the 36-64 year category and 17 in the over 65 group. In total 22% of survey respondents felt their mental health had declined since the pandemic.
“The survey result is indicative of what many parents have found anecdotally with their college-aged children,” said BHB Chief of Psychiatry Dr Anna Neilson-Williams. “While each person and their set of circumstances are unique, the impact of lockdowns in not being able to socialise or receive education in a more typical format, combined with feeling imprisoned and isolated, has caused increased depression and anxiety for many. Experiencing the rapidity of how life across the world was forced to change also caused fear, anxiety and depression, particularly in young adults.”
“It is important and encouraging to note that the vast majority of survey respondents (59%) felt their mental health had not significantly changed since the pandemic,” said Dr Neilson-Williams. “But for anyone experiencing difficulties, we can help.”
Respondents were also asked to list factors that prevented them from prioritising their mental health. The majority, (36%) said nothing was stopping them. Twenty-eight percent said work, 10% listed money/finances or not enough time, while 9% said caring for others/family was the reason.
“We encourage everyone in the community to pause and consider their mental health, and to actively care for it in the same way that we take care of our physical health,” said Dr Neilson-Williams. “Exercise can positively impact your mental health, and activities like walking and swimming are free. We live on such a beautiful island, experiencing nature can be very restorative and calming, thus just getting outside can help. Sixty percent, the overwhelming majority, of those surveyed said it’s what they do to improve their mental health.
“Reading a book was a distant second at 15%, spending time with family at 13%, and yoga/meditation/relaxation at 11%.”
BHB is committed to providing services through Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute to ensure good mental health and wellness are available to all in Bermuda.
The full Bermuda Omnibus – BHB Report is available below.