Great Britain

Rebuilding our communities is one of the best ways to improve our mental health

Mental wellbeing has risen to the fore in the midst of the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. Mental illness not only blights our lives but places enormous strains on our national health, social care services, our economies and impeding ecological sustainability.

It is buried alive and remains a taboo and a neglected area of research. A sense of abandonment, loneliness, hopelessness and stigmatisation is still smouldering under the ashes of despair. It is time to break down barriers, accentuate family networks and build sturdy communities founded on social solidarity and sustainability.

Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob​
London NW2

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Human tragedy

On of the most traumatic fall-outs of the protracted lockdown in India has been the horrendous plight of the migrant labour. Trains and buses stopped suddenly on 22 March, millions of migrants lost their livelihoods, since their factories were shut abruptly.

Since then, for the last seven weeks, millions of migrant labourers, including pregnant women and mothers carrying small children on their back, have been painfully trudging to their homes. Many of them have been walking for over ten days, without food, water or shelter, in the blazing summer. They are covering distances of 200 to 1,500 kilometres on foot, to reach their homes. Many have died on the way in rail and road accidents. This is miserable.

The crisis should have impelled all political parties to galvanise their cadres in every village and district to look after the migrants in every state. All political parties have some representation, down to every hamlet with a population of even 2,000 or less people in India.

These cadres of political parties of various hues could have provided food, water and shelter to the migrant labourers and provided them with transport to reach their homes. They would have earned massive goodwill through this yeoman’s service.

In the current crisis government employees are busy with enforcing the lockdown, organising the supply chain, etc. It is at such times that party members should have sunk their ideological differences and risen to the occasion to provide some succour to the stranded migrant workers.

Rajendra Aneja​
Mumbai, India

People first, not politics

It is abundantly clear that different parts of the nation need to be dealt with differently when it comes to the virus, and not driven by a London-centred focus. Additionally, blind adherence to artificial deadlines for Brexit negotiations, the concealment of the importance of Europe (Germany) to achieving our testing programme, and the ineptitude of still seeking to apply a dog whistle immigration policy, when the nation now recognises more than ever the contribution that the low paid and immigrants have made to dealing with the crisis, shows the cabinet’s depressingly limited perspective. This cabinet appears focused primarily on politics, not on managing the crisis. Such a parochial attitude is simply not good enough for the challenge we face. A government should not be studying their collective political navels, but thinking and acting strategically for the good of the nation.

Arthur Streatfield​
Bath

Ironic tweet

Priti Patel has tweeted, seemingly with some pride, “We’re ending free movement to open Britain up to the world. It will ensure people can come to our country based on what they have to offer, not where they come from.”

Ironically, the current cabinet seems to be filled with people whose selection was based purely upon where they come from (the pool of Tory sycophants willing to sell their souls to advance their careers) and not what their skills are (darn few to speak of).

Of course, if the home secretary’s intent was to highlight how much weaker the UK will be on its own then she’s doing a stand-up job – our “independence” from Europe (in terms of science and the sourcing of PPE) currently seems to be costing the lives of thousands of our citizens. Indeed, as the prime minister himself pointed out, immigrant workers in our NHS (many of whom would struggle to meet the immigration criteria set by our government) have been doing their level best to reduce free movement between this world and the next. The tragedy is that, once the current crisis is over, they’ll no doubt revert from being seen as key workers to being immigrant scum.

Julian Self
Milton Keynes

Side effects

Donald Trump’s taking of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine is cause for concern. Among its possible side effects – which may explain a lot – are confusion, irritability, mood changes and unusual thoughts or behaviour. Also, more worrying for him, it can turn skin pale and increase hair loss.

Roger Hinds
Surrey

It’s inter-personal

Working from home may be the future and may even be the present for many, but having experienced it first-hand, personally I have yet to be convinced it comes close to being in the workplace, in terms of efficiency and morale. Working as a team in an office involves so much more than just sitting at a screen all day. For many, the instant responses to the myriad questions are an essential part of what makes a business function, not to mention the need to relate to others on a personal level.

In years to come a system may exist that can more accurately mimic the work environment but it is nowhere near here yet. Still, the good news is the government could set an example and make parliament virtual. If business is expected to work remotely, what's to stop the running of the country on the same basis? We could save millions on MPs’ travel and second homes, not to mention the huge cost of refurbishment of parliament buildings

G Forward
Stirling

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