Mental Health and MS During Extraordinary Times
Given the complexity of MS and the symptoms it causes it is no wonder that anxiety and depression are common features of the MS experience. However, in my many years of working with MS I can honestly say that I am forever in awe of the spirit and strength we see in so many of those coping with the day by day battering that is MS.
Anxiety and depression are complex and difficult to manage, often because access to resources like clinical psychology are so limited in the NHS and where they are available, the demand is generally overwhelming. The last few months have greatly tested everybody’s patience and resilience and prompted many researchers to study the capacity of different patient groups to cope and survive the problems of dealing with the unexpected.
Some aspects of anxiety and depression in MS are closely linked to other symptoms such as fatigue and cognition as well as to lifestyle changes and anxiety over what the future may hold. The recent pandemic has heightened these factors for all of us, but many researchers have been studying the impact of isolation and concerns over the risk of catching Covid infections for those who have MS and other long-term conditions. MS Research is encouraging researchers who treat MS to feed any supporting data on how their patients have coped to the many international groups and organisations who are collecting Covid-related data to better understand how to meet the changing needs of people managing a long-term condition during these extraordinary times. We will be offering small grants to support the compilation and evaluation of data on the management of MS during the COVID-19 pandemic.