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Date: May 18, 2020
The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 is about kindness.
Mental health problems can affect anyone, at any time. Bridgewater Home Care is supporting Mental Health Awareness Week (run by the Mental Health Foundation) as we want our clients to know that they are supported during this time, and at all times.
Looking after ourselves has never been more important than right now. Whether you are social distancing, self-isolating or a key worker, the coronavirus outbreak is unlike anything most of us have experienced before and at times can feel strange, confusing, and overwhelming.
The Mental Health Foundation have chosen kindness because of:
“its singular ability to unlock our shared humanity. Kindness strengthens relationships, develops community, and deepens solidarity. It is a cornerstone of our individual and collective mental health. Wisdom from every culture across history recognises that kindness is something that all human beings need to experience and practise to be fully alive. “
Even before the coronavirus outbreak, one in five of us claimed to feel lonely often or for some of the time. Loneliness, with a multitude of causes and effects, requires equally broad solutions.
Humans are social creatures, so being forced to self-isolate can really take its toll on our mental health.
The most common signs of loneliness are:
• An overwhelming feeling of isolation
• Feeling tired or low energy
• Falling or staying asleep
• Lack of interest in food
• Feelings of anxiety
• Feeling hopeless or increased feelings of depression
Three actions for anyone feeling lonely:
1. Keep in touch with friends, family and neighbours
2. Ask for help if you need shopping, medicine or are feeling lonely
3. Set a routine with online activities, regular tasks or by volunteering
Three actions for people wanting to help if you are worried about someone who is lonely:
1. Phone a friend or family member you think may be lonely
2. Smile, wave or chat from a safe distance with a neighbour
3. Help out through volunteering by picking up food, medicine or by offering regular conversation to someone living alone.
Letting someone know you are worried is a good way to open up a conversation – it shows you care about the person, have time for them and that they do not have to avoid things with you.
Listening is an important skill. Ask open questions that start with “how”, “what”, “where” or “when”. This can help people open up.
Whatever way you choose to stay in touch, make sure it is something you schedule regularly to avoid feelings of loneliness from building up.
The coronavirus outbreak has meant big life changes for all of us and it may be causing you to feel more upset, frustrated, or worried than normal. Whilst it is natural to experience low-moods and it’s something that all of us feel from time to time, it’s important that this is addressed if the feelings last more than a few weeks.
During her time as an MP, Jo Cox was dedicated to combating loneliness in the UK. She formed an independent, cross-party Commission of MPs and charities to highlight the fact that we can all do something to help lonely people in our community. Following her tragic murder in 2016, the Commission was taken forward in Jo’s memory. There is lots of useful information here : The Jo Cox Foundation
The UK Government created the world’s first Minister for Loneliness and published the world’s first Government loneliness strategy in October 2018, containing 60 commitments from nine Government departments. Implementation of the strategy is ongoing and the Government published a first annual report in January 2020 setting out their progress.
The Let’s Talk Loneliness public campaign was started to get people talking openly about loneliness, and guidance on supporting yourself and others safely.
Staying at home does not have to lead to loneliness. The NHS website has expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing.
They have tips to help if you’re worried about coronavirus, advice on how to maintain your mental wellbeing while staying at home and even a tool for you to create a free plan to help deal with stress and anxiety. They also have a guide on steps you can take if you need some support in helping others around you.
If loneliness is affecting your life, there are things you can try that may help on the NHS website. If these don’t make things easier for you, your GP will be able to offer further advice. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone.
Mental Health UK have also developed some useful information and tips to help people manage their health during the coronavirus outbreak.
Details and phone numbers of other organisations and charities who can help are shown below:
• The Mental Health Foundation hosts Mental Health Awareness Week.
• MIND: Mind has tips and support on its website. Coronavirus and your wellbeing | Mind, the mental health…
• Age UK – information and advice about coronavirus
• The Silver Line – helping provide info, advice and friendship to Older People
• Shout: Confidential 24/7 crisis text support. Text “SHOUT” to 85258 or visit Shout Crisis Text Line
• UK Government – COVID 19 Guidance for the public on mental health and wellbeing
• NHS – Every Mind Matters – Simple ideas to maintain mental wellbeing while at home
• Rethink – Advice for people living with severe mental illness
• COVID-19 – Staying Mentally Well – Simple steps you can take to try to look after your emotional wellbeing
• CALM: The Campaign Against Living Miserably, for people in the UK who are down or have hit a wall for any reason. Call 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight). Free, anonymous webchat with trained staff or visit the CALM website
• Samaritans: Call free on 116 123 or visit the website
• Simple Self-Soothe Strategies – Introduces you to five simple strategies for relaxation and self-soothing which can be used by adults or children
A regular routine, a familiar environment, and good company can help make your loved one feel safe, reduce loneliness, and enhance their quality of life. Receiving care at home is an opportunity for your loved one to be able to stay in their own home, close to family, friends and support networks for as long as possible.
If you would like to learn more about Bridgewater Home Care’s expert and dedicated Companionship focussed Dementia and Alzheimer’s care, please do get in touch with a member of our friendly and professional Bridgewater team members today. One of us will be delighted to answer any questions you may have.
You can reach us on 01942 21588 or email: email@example.com.