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Mental health & face coverings - World Mental Health Day

Mental Health & Face Coverings; World Mental Health Day 2020

Today is #WorldMentalHealthDay, an annual event aimed at raising awareness for an important topic.

To mark World Mental Health Day this year, we’d like to talk to you about face coverings. (I know that’s all we talk about, but hear us out.)

There’s no denying that most of us can’t wait to see the back of COVID-19, but we all need to do our part to help stop the spread of this awful virus. We must continue to wear face coverings, socially distance, and be extra cautious about hygiene; hands, face, space.

It’s also important to be mindful that wearing a face covering is not straightforward for everyone.

What are the current regulations around wearing face coverings?

There are some places where you must wear a face covering by law. Different rules exist in different parts of the UK. Find more information about your local area via the below regional websites:

In England, you must wear a face covering in most indoor settings and on public transport. You can view the full list here.

In settings where face coverings are required in England, there are some circumstances where people may not be able to wear a face covering. It’s important that we, as communities, are mindful and respectful of such circumstances, noting that some people are less able to wear face coverings, and that the reasons for this may not be visible to others.

To view the list of exemptions, click here.

How face coverings can cause difficult feelings:

As we mentioned before, wearing a face covering is not straightforward for everyone. Some people may find covering their face very hard, or even impossible to cope with. And for people with existing mental health problems, face coverings may pose extra challenges.

For example:

  • Covering your mouth and nose might affect the air you breathe, which might make you feel anxious or panicky. This can then cause other symptoms as well, like feeling dizzy or sick.
  • You might feel trapped or claustrophobic.
  • Covering your face changes the way you look, which may cause negative feelings around your identity or body image.
  • Having certain materials touching your skin might feel very hard to cope with. (Sensory overload).
  • Face coverings are a visual reminder of the virus, so seeing them might make you feel on edge or unable to relax. It might seem like danger is everywhere.
  • Seeing people covering their faces might make you feel uneasy or scared of others. 
  • On the other hand, you might feel very anxious or upset around people who are not wearing masks in public. (Although many people are exempt from wearing them, and you won’t always know their reasons.)
  • If you are exempt from wearing a mask, you still might feel very anxious about being judged, shamed, or stigmatised in public. Or about the possibility of being asked to pay a fine. This may feel especially hard to cope with if the reason you can’t wear a mask is also to do with your mental health.

Thank you to Mind for this information.

If you struggle to wear a face covering, here are a few tips that might help make things a little easier during these unprecedented times:

  • Remember that face coverings are purposely made for protection. To keep yourself and others safe. People in the medical profession have safely been using them for over a hundred years.
  • When wearing a face covering, try to avoid rapid, shallow breathing. Instead, check out this video to help you breathe correctly and to help control panic
  • Try wearing your face covering around the house for short periods to get used to how it feels. Maybe while watching a good TV program or while doing a favourite hobby. Start off with just a minute or two and increase the period slowly over time.
  • There’s a huge variety of masks out there, different shapes; fabrics sizes etc. What might suit one person could feel very uncomfortable on someone else, so try a few out before you decide. Our closed-cell foam headpieces provide a snug, comfortable fit.

How face shields can help those who have difficulties wearing a mask:

At UltimateVisor, we always recommend to double up on your PPE to help protect you and the world around you. However, we understand that this may not be possible for everyone.

Our CE certified visors provide a comfortable, safe, stylish and environmentally-friendly alternative to other, less effective, face coverings on the market.

People who are deaf or have hearing loss rely on visual cues for effective communication including facial expressions and lip-reading, therefore face masks can make it hard for them to communicate. With its anti-fog, anti-static, optically clear visor, UltimateVisor offers people who’re deaf or have hearing loss a comfortable and effective alternative to troublesome face masks.

For people with existing mental health problems, face shields provide a great alternative to masks as they’re not claustrophobic, instead, they provide a comfortable, snug fit and your vision won’t be impaired.

To people who don’t suffer with mental health problems:

We urge the public to think twice before judging someone for not wearing a face covering. Not all health conditions are visible and people who are confronted can be left feeling anxious and humiliated. Now more than ever, we need to be kind to everyone around us.

To shop our range of visors, click here.

To view the latest news on UltimateVisor, PPE and government guidelines, click here.

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