It's Mental Health Awareness Week – and in this week's Community Column, our health writer Lucy Dunn looks at the impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on people's mental health, and some of the places you can go to for help if you need it.

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The coronavirus pandemic has been brutal and merciless; no-one has remained unscathed by its wrath.

However, there are warnings of another, more insidious pandemic set to engulf us after Covid subsides: a global mental health crisis.

At the end of March, 50 per cent of UK adults surveyed were experiencing high levels of anxiety in relation to coronavirus, according to the Office for National Statistics – and these levels appear to be remaining high due to concerns about the UK’s plans to exit lockdown.

READ MORE: Three in four young people concerned at pandemic's mental health impact, survey finds

For everyone, from people with newly emerging anxieties to those with pre-existing mental health problems, the question is: when in lockdown, what can be done to help our mental health?

The NHS strongly recommends their website Every Mind Matters, which has informative pages on anxiety, low mood and stress. It also offers a personalised well-being ‘Mind Plan’, created after completion of their online questionnaire.

Mental health charities, like Mind and their Elefriends online support community, allow you to talk to others experiencing similar feelings; in a time of isolation, online support groups are extremely beneficial ways to offload.

READ MORE: Males Tales founder: Help is available if lockdown is affecting your mental health

Charities are always able to talk and give advice, especially if you are unsure whether you need professional help. The Samaritans helpline, on 116 1236, is always open.

For those who seek support more regularly, it’s important to remember that GP practices are still open; and they are there to be used when you need them.

This means that you are still able to get an appointment if it is necessary and you can be referred on to your local mental health team or crisis team, depending on what best suits your situation.

READ MORE: Meet the first of your Helensburgh and Lomond 'Lockdown Heroes'

The current circumstances are far from perfect and, for many, online support will seem a far cry from receiving the help they need.

However, this is a reminder that, no matter where and no matter when, there is always someone to listen to you: online, over the phone and, if you need it, in your community.

Your mental health should always remain a priority, especially in times like these.

READ MORE: Check out all the latest news headlines from around Helensburgh and Lomond here