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News: World Mental Health Day – Life on Furlough

October 09, 2020

Jane Wright


There is no mistaking the toll the last few months has taken on the nation’s mental health.  There has never been a time in recent history where so many of the things we take for granted – freedom, basic human contact, companionship – have had so many restrictions placed on them.


Now, just when we thought we could slowly get back to normal & enjoy spending time with family and friends again, we appear to be swiftly heading back to square one.


Those who have been on the employee furlough scheme since March this year, have had to endure a difficult time, with the lack of routine and sense of purpose work provides missing for a prolonged period of time.

Si article photo 1


That, along with the uncertainty that is prevalent countrywide at the moment, is undoubtedly having a detrimental effect on the mental health of many.


I spoke with my friend and colleague, paraplanner Simon Blades, who is still on furlough until the end of October, to find out how he has tried to combat the difficulties this has produced.



If you look at Si’s social media pages, you will see fantastic pictures of Snowdon, Moel Famau, and the Peak District National Park, amongst others, where he has been hiking with friends in a bid to keep busy.


He has returned to running 4 – 5 times a week, taking on and smashing the 100km September Running Challenge with Fitbit, and recently running 10k for the first time in over 2 years.


In Si’s words, his attitude has been geared towards:

Healthy body, healthy mind


… as he admits himself his mental health has suffered over the past few months. A side effect of his improved fitness has been a 2 stone weight loss, celebrated as anyone would, with a massive amount of food consumed at the Baltic Market in Liverpool!!


I know Si has found this period of time on furlough difficult, as so many have, but I for one am proud and inspired by his attitude, not to allow himself to sink lower, but to keep going and get active to help himself.


Tomorrow, 10th October, is World Mental Health Day, recognised by the World Health Organisation on the same day every year.  This year it takes on much more significance, following the huge impact lockdown and the dramatic changes made in all of our lives, as we work towards a ‘new normal’.

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