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Social Isolation, Loneliness & Financial Strain – Dr Jen Dykxhoorn, Ed Davie & Caron Walker

Real World Public Mental Health: Translating evidence into practice

11th December 2020
Episode 2

In collaboration with:

  • Public Health England

This month Stu is joined by:

  • Dr Jen Dykxhoorn, Senior Research Fellow in Public Mental Health at UCL
  • Ed Davie , Councillor at London Borough of Lambeth
  • Caron Walker, Assistant Director for Adult Public Health Improvement at Calderdale Council

The group begin by defining exactly what loneliness and isolation mean and look like. They explore the importance of ‘weak ties’ to feeling connected and belonging in a community, and how COVID-19 measures such as social distancing have impacted these interactions, particularly over a long period of time.

Ed and Jen explain how the impact of COVID falls most heavily on those already facing inequalities, for example, availability of technology, internet access, ability to travel and many others. They also discuss the difficulties people can face over the festive period, and whether the change in guidance over Christmas can provide relief during a time of chronic loneliness.

Caron joins the discussion by explaining how the Staying well Calderdale project looks at cross-community factors and programmes such as befriending over the phone and socially distanced doorstep visits to help people stay well.

Moving towards financial impacts, Jennifer and Ed share how programmes to support financial instability (worsened during COVD-19) can be made most effective and sustainable.

Finally, the group looks to the future to discuss how we might be able to use 2020 as a reset - the need to consider the environment, social determinants and individual actions altogether, and invest in research to better understand mental health, and why certain programmes succeed.

Listen to this RWPMH episode