Wellbeing & Mental Health Matters: phone a friend

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In our spot on the site where we chat about things to do with mental health and general wellbeing, a few words about a simple phone call.

Hello, and welcome to our quiet corner of the internet, where we offer a comfortable chair, a biscuit of your choice, and a bit of a natter. This week, a simple action. Consider phoning a friend. Picking up the phone and dialling, typing, face thingying – anything to make contact with someone you’ve not connected with in a while.

Communication has never been simpler, in many ways. Yet we put up barriers to connecting with people, mostly subconsciously. You don’t want to be a bother, you think you’ve left it too long since you last spoke, you’ve had a rough time and you’re worried about dragging another person down.

You’re not a bother. In fact, you are most likely a pleasure. Life has recently been tracking us down a treadmill towards limbo, one leaden step at a time. There’s been little to cheer, less to celebrate. There is little to look forward to, as we march on through the pandemic mists. And it’s easy to get lost in the grey.

Use your phone, your laptop, your tablet as a torch back to other people. Tap out a few words, hear an old mate say hello. Play Blondie’s Call Me to get you in the mood (trust me, it’ll cheer you up anyway. And yes, I know, it’s really a song about a bootie call).

Just talk. It’s been a long year for most people, filled with heavy silence, where there would normally have been the chatter of the office, the buzz of conversation in a coffee shop, or a good earwig on public transport. Sometimes social media gets tribal and feverish, and the nuances of actual conversation are drowned out. Have a real conversation, with a human.

A signpost here, to the Campaign to End Loneliness, a charity that encourages people to keep in touch with one another. They estimate that there are 9 million lonely people in the UK, 4 million of them older people. The charity specifically targets loneliness in the elderly, but they also have some helpful resources and ideas for anyone who may be struggling with loneliness themselves. Check these out here.

Also consider contacting the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), who offer a friendly voice at the end of the phone. You can call them in the UK on 0800 58 58 58, or benefit from their web chat service.

Drop a comment here, under the line, start a conversation. Think about something positive to share. Commiserate where needed. Talk about biscuits (right now, I’m all about the shortbread). Let us know what you are up to this week. I’ll start – I’m cautiously optimistic about a vaccine, and I’m loving autumn, rustling about in fallen leaves.

Wherever you are, whatever you are up to, thanks for reading and stay safe.

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