Star comment: We must look out for our neighbours

The narrative that we are all in this together has been continually misleading. Quite simply, we are not.

We must look after one another.
We must look after one another.

The haves and the have nots have experienced Covid very differently. Those who spent long, lonely months in tower blocks cannot be said to have enjoyed the same opportunities or liberties as those who were able to escape to the comfort of their gardens.

A new study reveals the depth of inequality during the pandemic. Older people in poorer areas were twice as likely to face adverse impacts on their mental health than wealthier citizens in richer areas. Just as their life expectancy might be shorter and their propensity to illness greater, so their experience of lockdown would have been more challenging.

Lockdown has been a discombobulating experience for many. It has brought communities together and made us look out for vulnerable neighbours. In other ways though it has removed the meetings and social gatherings that many rely on as well as some of the visits from external agencies, like social workers. For some, the safety mechanism that prevents them from falling into crisis has been removed.

Lockdown has left people damaged mentally as well as physically. As we come out of lockdown it is essential that this is addressed. The report from University College London (UCL) and the University of Manchester is welcome as it shines a light on the issue.

Now it is vital that we reach out to those who are isolated, both through intervention from health and social services but also on a human level by us continuing to look out for our neighbours.

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