KEEPING in touch with loved ones has been key to positive mental health within the Vale of Glamorgan.

With video-chat platforms including Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype experiencing significant growth over the past year, it’s hardly surprising that online quizzes and group chats became a regular diary entry for people when physical contact wasn’t an option.

From a YouGov poll conducted in December, over a third of residents within the Vale of Glamorgan said that communicating with friends and family has helped sustain or improve their mental health since the start of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

This was followed by exercise and spending more time with family/friends you live with.

Welsh Government is encouraging people to ‘help us, help you’ by encouraging self-care to help protect and improve mental well-being, particularly at this time when levels of anxiety are higher than before the pandemic.

Hannah Moorland-Jones, Peer Lead & Manager at Cardiff and Vale Recovery & Wellbeing College, said: “We’re all experiencing a mixture of emotions right now, which may include positive highs of enjoyment and comradery by joining online quizzes or games with others, along with negative emotions such as anxiety and feelings of isolation.

“I ask that you not only check-in on those around you if you haven’t heard from them in a while, but also ask how your louder friends and family members are doing as often we just reply with a standard ‘I’m fine’.

"It’s ok not to be ok all the time, so please talk to someone, whether that be a friend, family member or a service offered within the area.

“I also encourage you to call your loved ones on the phone sometimes too, rather than simply texting or instant messaging as you’ll be able to pick up on verbal cues whether someone is coping well or just putting on a brave face.”

The Welsh Government spends more on mental health than on any other aspect of the NHS – with more than £700m invested annually and this includes the CALL Mental Health Listening Line.

It provides a confidential mental health listening and emotional support line which is open 24/7. CALL can also signpost to support in local communities and a range of online information. Call 0800132737, text 'help' to 81066 or visit


Alun Thomas, Chief Executive of Welsh mental health charity Hafal, said:

“Hafal’s advice is to stay connected to others as much as you can within the guidelines, look after your physical health, and reach out and support others who you think may be in need.

"To overcome feelings of loneliness, isolation and anxiety it’s important to make use of our own support systems, whether that be our friends, families, schools, employers, etc.

“People who already receive mental health services should seek to agree with services the support they can call on during these times; it is essential that they maintain contact with services, have an up-to-date care plan and access to the medication they need.

“At Hafal we continue to provide vital support every day to thousands of people with a mental illness across Wales.

"With the help of Welsh Government funding, we are also delivering our promise that no one in Wales affected by a mental illness need be alone; this is achieved by providing a range of flexible support either in person, on the phone, by email or via our online community Clic.”