Why embracing diversity helps our mental health

New research shows that different personality traits can dictate how you might respond to extreme conditions like lockdown.

Mental Health Image. Waste paper and head silhouette

 

Mental health has been a huge issue during the pandemic. At the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women and Work on Monday Carers UK noted that it was often missed off the list of unpaid caring responsibilities, yet the mental load of looking after someone who is depressed or anxious is enormous and ongoing.
Our white paper out this week looks at how employers have responded to the increased mental health pressures over the last year and a half, whether those are financial, health-related, linked to remote working or working on the frontline or being furloughed or any other reason.
A research paper out this week also investigates how personality type might affect people’s mental health during Covid. It says those with open and extrovert personalities have experienced higher deterioration in their mental health than other personality types, with women with an open personality [associated with creative people and entrepreneurs] and high level of cognitive skills being particularly affected.
The research from University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School said that understanding how individuals with different personalities react to an extreme condition such as a lockdown can help identify at-risk groups as well as more personalised psychological or psychiatric treatments for the post-Covid period and help inform policy making.
What has emerged from Covid more than anything is that people have faced very particular issues depending on their circumstances and that different people respond to the same situations in different ways. A generalised approach may therefore not be the best way forward. Instead, what is needed is a better understanding of ourselves and of the diversity of people’s experiences and lives generally, greater empathy, less judgement and more listening.


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