Interesting article in The Guardian today around fighting loneliness and the effects of the loss of human contact and touch as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
As humans we seek touch as a form of communication or reassurance; as an interaction between members of a community as much as between strangers, or even an intervention to prevent us from danger and harm.
However, due to the necessary movement restrictions imposed by the government’s pandemic legislation (and guidelines), we are now actively preventing human contact and even where human touch is physically possible (outdoors or in communal spaces) – we have issued guidelines and mantras against it in order to prevent the spread of a greater threat.
With over 7.7 million people now living on their own, there is a significant chunk of our population that may go days, weeks, and months without physical human interaction.
Although there may be many people with a more introverted personality who are enjoying parts of the restrictions that enable them to avoid previously awkward encounters that invaded their personal space, there are equally many extroverts whose mental health is suffering as a result of not being able to speak with people or reach out a hand or receive a gesture of support.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our nation’s mental health will be felt for many years to come and possibly even for a generation as the children learn to articulate the impact of the trauma they have faced whilst lacking agency in a world governed by grownups and an invisible threat.