Hi there Geoffrey and welcome
Can you tell me please exactly what happens now when you try to access mail please?
Power off the mac
Then start the Mac and hold down the Command and R keys at startup.
Hold these keys until the Apple logo appears. After your computer finishes starting up, you should see a desktop with an OS X menu bar and an OS X Utilities window
choose Disk Utility from the Utilities window, or from the Installer menu if you're started from an installation disc.
Click the First Aid tab.
Click the disclosure triangle to the left of the hard drive icon to display the names of your hard disk volumes and partitions.
Select your Startup Disk (usually named "Macintosh HD").
Click Repair. Disk Utility checks and repairs the disk.
Let this complete and when it has, tell me if you still have the problem please.