Reaching inland

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Reflections on the A Year in Our Lives stories about living through Covid-19

David Gilbert
14 June 2022

A Year in Our Lives was initiated by Centre for Mental Health in June 2020. We wanted to share how the dramatic impact of Covid-19 and resulting lockdowns was affecting people’s mental health, in their own words. The stories we received paint a diverse and complex picture of life during the pandemic and its ongoing effect on us.

We invited writer and activist David Gilbert to share his reflections on these pieces, and to trace the key themes in these personal accounts of a historic point in time.

Reaching inland tracks the golden threads running through the stories, including the unequal impact of the pandemic, the experiences of people with pre-existing mental health difficulties, and the striking and creative ways people communicated their experiences and emotions.

Reaching inland explores what we can learn from the A Year in Our Lives stories in dealing with the aftermath of the pandemic and preparing for future emergencies. It identifies how shock and fear, anger and loneliness were mixed with courage, hope and gratitude during 2020 and early 2021. Amid the suffering, many found new ways to cope and made changes to their lives in the most difficult circumstances.

As the Public Inquiry into the pandemic draws closer, A Year in Our Lives and Reaching Inland provide a vital foundation for understanding the mental health impacts of Covid-19 from people who have been through it themselves.

We want to thank each person who generously and powerfully shared their stories with us for this ground-breaking project.


Read all the pieces online or download a copy of the A Year in Our Lives anthology.

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