The UK’s largest independent pharmacy chain is setting up Comfort Zones in their community pharmacies for people suffering from anxiety as they emerge back into the world after Freedom Day.

Well Pharmacy is offering their private consultation rooms at 750 community pharmacies nationwide for anyone feeling overwhelmed by the return to more social contact.

This initiative is in response to a study*, which revealed 1 in 5 people are concerned about emerging back into the world after Freedom Day having spent the last 18 months following government guidelines to stay home to save lives.

The study also shows that over a third of people are only leaving the house once a week. While 40% of people say they will only be confident about socialising again once the vaccine programme is fully rolled out. The national pharmacy chain is concerned that the figures will be much higher for the elderly and vulnerable, who have needed to shield and isolate to protect their health and wellbeing.

Well Pharmacy is offering their private consultation rooms as somewhere for anxiety sufferers to get away from crowds, contact a support service, or talk to a friend or family member.

Former England football captain and mental health advocate, Terry Butcher, said: “While most of us are very excited to be getting back to a sort of normality, there is no doubt that mixing with lots of people again and the return to the hustle and bustle of everyday life, can seem very daunting.

“In the past I have suffered from anxiety in some social situations, and I know how helpful it can be to just take some time out in a comfortable, safe space. A bit of quiet time and maybe a friendly chat can make all the difference.

“So, I’m very keen to help Well Pharmacy support all those people out there who might be suffering at the change in their lives after so long in the coronavirus wilderness. We know from this study there could be millions of them.”

Louis Purchase, Operations Director at Well Pharmacy said: “Whilst the easing of lockdown restrictions have been a welcome return to normality for many, we can’t forget the people who are feeling anxious at the thought of socialising again. Social distancing has become the norm over the last year and it is totally understandable that some people would feel anxious at the thought of being in crowded places again.

“For people who suffer from social anxiety, the idea of being away from the comfort zone of their own home can be daunting. We hope that those affected will feel more confident leaving their homes, in the knowledge that there are Comfort Zones located across so many high streets across the UK”

Well Pharmacy is going one step further and reaching out to their elderly and vulnerable patients who receive their prescriptions via their free home delivery service. Hand delivering support materials as lockdown eases with information on how to overcome social anxiety, contact details for support services and advice about shopping, going to medical appointments and seeing friends and family.

To find your closest Comfort Zone in your local Well pharmacy visit: https://finder.well.co.uk/

To read Well’s practical guidance and find out how to access a Comfort Zone visit: www.well.co.uk/comfortzone


About the research

An online survey was conducted by Atomik Research among 2,002 respondents from the UK. The research fieldwork took place on 18th June – 21st June 2021. Atomik Research is an independent market research agency that employs MRS-certified researchers and abides to the MRS code.