Wellbeing Livecast – Mentalising the Pandemic

Posted: 21/08/20

During the pandemic, the Centre for Specialist Psychological Therapies at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) has been running wellbeing livecasts.

Each week, staff are invited to join a livecast which covers a specific topic. Dr Stuart Mitchell is a consultant clinical psychologist and Trust lead for personality disorders. He provides training on treatment approaches to personality disorder, complex trauma and mentalising. Mentalising is the ability to understand the mental state of oneself and others.

“The pandemic has knocked many of us off balance. We can re-balance ourselves by reflecting on how we cope with the pandemic. Mentalising is a form of imaginative mental activity. It involves how we perceive and interpret our feelings, thoughts and beliefs.

“There are many factors that have caused us stress in recent months; job loss or loss of income, less daily structure, bereavement, not seeing friends and family, and constant updates from the media. Collectively, we have felt confused, scared, trapped, and stressed.

“People will have reacted in different ways. Many people will have tried to carry on as normal, believing others are overreacting. While others will want to get away from it all.

“As well as the stresses of a pandemic, there are other things that can knock off mentalising including strong emotions, trauma, exhaustion and stressful life events. Focusing on the present, trying to be non-judgemental and considering the impact of your emotions are things that can be done to bring back mentalising.

“Mentalising is not the same as mindfulness. Mentalising goes further to work out the mental picture and why we do what we do. Mentalising is an active thing, something we do with our minds, rather than a task or activity.”

You can listen to all our wellbeing livecasts on the CNTW YouTube channel.