Sky News Interview with CEO/Expert Psychotherapist, Noel McDermott: Understanding Dads Struggling With Life Under Lockdown

Sky News Broadcast: 09 May 2020

The Impact of Covid-19 Lockdown on Men’s Emotions. @SkyNews Broadcast: 09 May 2020 #SkyNewLive @Breakfast with Gillian Joseph.

Psychotherapist @NoelMcDermott comments:

One of the big roles for dads is that dad is often the breadwinner. That role is significantly threatened currently, and this economic uncertainty is a very big issue. It produces loss of identify and reactive depressive symptoms or reactive anxiety symptoms. Additionally, there is a sense of helplessness in the face of the enormity of the situation. Unhealthy coping strategies are emerging including excess drinking. We have also seen significant issues around relapse in addiction issues.

Men in general have fewer social and emotional support systems and these generally involve the sort of social activities that are currently banned such as meeting friends in the pub, playing sport etc. The sense of isolation from this can be quite significant. Men overall were not on the phone to friends prior to the virus and certainly are not doing it now. They have only their partners to turn to, who are understandably busy with having the kids at home or are trying to meet their own emotional needs. Often this is leading guys to internalise more and present a strong front resulting in higher levels of stress, with many also reporting unhealthy levels of alcohol consumption.

Many guys are rising to the challenge but the longer this situation continues the harder it is to manage. If you are concerned that the men in your life are struggling with life under lockdown, look for these classic warning signs:

• sleep disturbances

• changes in mood

• changes in appetite

• changes in weight

• typically for men you will see an increase in the use of alcohol and issues around dysregulation (losing one’s temper more).

• withdrawal is another sign of potential struggles

Handy Checklist for Dads:

• Simplify…cut out complex task lists and make each day as simple as possible

• Stay in the here and now…avoid thinking about the future. Yes, we must be practical and plan but as much as possible reduce your thinking to what you are experiencing in the moment and focus on how make the moment ok. Everything else will fall into place!

• Mediate…learn and do it now it really does help

• Stop drinking

• Exercise

• Have good sleep hygiene, hydrate, eat well

• Take naps

• Practice gratitude

• Show love to those around you

• Practice self-care

Noel McDermott is a Psychotherapist with over 25 years’ experience in health, social care, and education. He is the founder and CEO of three organisations, Psychotherapy and Consultancy Ltd, Sober Help Ltd and Mental Health Works Ltd. Noel’s company offer at-home mental health care and will source, identify and co-ordinate personalised care teams for the individual. They have recently launched a range of online therapy resources in order to help clients access help without leaving home – https://www.noelmcdermott.net/group-therapy/.