Do you have half an hour a week to spare to help someone in need? Communicare is looking for a team of volunteers to help telephone befriend those who are isolated and who we know have mental health challenges.
During these trying times we want those we support to know that they have someone that they can chat to wherever they are. Unfortunately, as a good neighbours charity, those identified with mental health challenges often wait the longest on our waiting list, and volunteers feel less confident about getting involved, which is why we really need your help.
All this involves is a half an hour call, a friendly chat, to check that they’re okay. No prior training or qualifications needed, just a kind heart, a listening ear, and a bit of empathy and a desire to understand. From the start we outline that our volunteers are not trained counsellors or mental health professionals, just a kind, empathetic, listening ear. We will signpost our clients to professional support services within the Network for challenges and difficulties outside of this ‘befriending’ scope.
Our scheme differs from many others on offer in that lived experience is not a pre-requirement. Empathy and a desire to understand are the key qualifications here.
If you have just half an hour a week to spare for someone else, your help would be truly appreciated.
To get involved, please fill in one of the volunteer information forms on our website and return it to: email@example.com
A new helpline has been launched by Solent Mind to support those facing poor mental health and emotional difficulties during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Please call: 023 8017 9049. Phone-lines are open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm (except Bank Holidays).
Our experienced advisors will offer you support and ideas to help you cope if you:
If you or a loved one are at immediate risk of harming themselves or others, please ring 999.
by Carolyn Barber
In Merseyside an award winning programme for dealing with stress, anxiety and depression, Creative Alternatives, was developed as part of a 'social prescribing' initiative. The idea is that a GP or any other professional could refer someone for this alternative prescription - creative activity workshops instead of medication.
If anyone is looking for a diversion in these difficult times a Southampton based woman's refuge, The Yellow Door, is interested in donations of handmade goods to them. They would love the idea of hand knitted/crocheted toys. They have asked if interested if you can make small diverse looking people; families (mum, dad, siblings), police officers, firefighters, doctors and fabric dolls. Those along with other crocheted toys would be really useful as there are different services within Yellow Door; ISVA, Domestic Abuse Team and Children and Young People's Therapeutic Services, who could benefit from these.
Is there any one interested in joining in and doing this? The refuge is based in Highfield and the women and children who are in difficult circumstances/ abusive partnerships are finding it hard because of the lockdown which is now extended to another 3 weeks.
Please contact Jan on 023 80900851 if you are interested. Please also get in contact if you want Jan to search for patterns for you.
MadCovid hardship fund for people with mental health difficulties
NSUN members Jo Edge and Bethan Edwards, both survivors of mental illness and the psychiatric system, have created a hardship fund to help anyone with mental health difficulties who are currently struggling financially.
Funds are available to people who do not have access to other available funds from employers or through the government.
This fund is for mentally ill/neurodiverse people in the UK who are facing financial hardship due to COVID-19. We are offering grants of up to £200 to individuals and staff on psychiatric wards for OT activities.
Some things mentally ill/neurodiverse people may need:
- Taxi fares to/from essential mental health appointments: it is crucial that people with mental illnesses access any appointments they might have (e.g. psychiatrist, therapist, community mental health team).
- Kitchen appliances which will help with food storage and cooking, such as microwaves or freezers: many people with mental illnesses live without such items due a lack of money and manage in regular times, but faced with lockdown and an increased need to store and cook food, these items are now essential.
- Increased household bills such as internet data and fuel: those who are suddenly out of work will be faced with more time at home, but way less income.
- Home deliveries of shopping and other essential items, especially for people in crisis who can normally go out and about when well.
- Bulk ordering of products such as Fortisip/safe foods which are a lifeline for people with eating disorders. Fortisip is extremely expensive and very hard to get on prescription from a GP.
- Medical supplies for dealing with self-injury/self-harm at home, for those who cannot get what they need free on prescription (such as hypoallergenic dressings) or who cannot attend A&E.
- Inpatient mental health wards may also apply to us for the cost of extra resources to keep patients busy and occupied, such as craft materials, board games or other costs for OT activities.
Money will only go to those who need it: folks who do not have access to other available funds from employers or through the government. We prioritise people with no recourse to public funds and those who have children or other dependents and who can show that they have exhausted other options. We also prioritise students who have no recourse to state benefits during this time and whose universities and SUs have not been able to assist them.
Your application will need to show how COVID-19 has specifically brought about the need for extra funds. Wherever possible we will buy the requested items for you or send appropriate vouchers rather than transfer cash. We also need to see a detailed breakdown of how much you need and what for.
The dates for this week's Frazzled Cafe Online meetings are now live on our booking site. These include our larger showcase meetings with Ruby and more of our Facilitator led meetings for smaller groups of up to 12 people.
A huge and heartfelt "Thank You!!" to all of you who have been supporting us by making a donation. Your support means a great deal, particularly in these challenging times, and contributes directly towards helping us to provide our meetings.
As always, please do get in touch with any feedback or suggestions via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take care and we hope to see you soon,
The Frazzled Cafe Team
In 2015 some French researchers looked at how an anxious person may be better prepared to deal with a crisis than their more laid back counterparts.
"Anxious people process threats using regions of the brain responsible for action. Meanwhile, 'low anxious' people process them in sensory circuits, responsible for face recognition".
There is certainly some anecdotal evidence that for some who experience severe anxiety, the public health crisis has eased their distress. It's possible that the slowing down of the sheer busyness and pace of life, reduces daily stress factors.
On the other hand, the experience from China and countries such as Italy and Spain - ahead of the UK in terms of the impact of the pandemic - suggests that mental distress is likely to escalate as isolation and uncertainty about the future continues. One source estimated that 42% of the Chinese population were experiencing anxiety. The World Health Organisation identifies the mental health of health and care workers, those on the frontline of dealing with Covid 19, as a major concern for public health strategies.
All this highlights just how important it is to pay attention to our own mental health. Learning the principles of 'emotional first aid' is one way to remind ourselves that these are seriously distressing times for most of us.
Psychologist Guy Winch identifies five such principles in his book Emotional First Aid:
AnxietyUK suggests practising the "Apple" technique to deal with anxiety and worries.
We are going to be doing some live demos on Facebook in the near future for card making. If you want card-making packs, decoupage or anything else to do, let Frances know and she can give you a card pack to do. We are happy to get card-making packs delivered to people who want them. In the meantime, have a look at Frances' Facebook for a slide show of making a 'shaker' card. If you're not currently connected with Frances, please search for Frances Anne Heather on Facebook.
We encourage you to have a look at the facebook live on a Friday morning where Emma does a craft. She gives out the packs on a Thursday evening, so you have to order after the Friday for the next week. The packs are £6.50 each and she can deliver them on a Thursday.
Keep an eye out on our What's On Page for a new tai-chi class that we will be starting very soon
It's worth dialling onto the zoom on a Wednesday and bringing your well-being topics to be discussed. In the meantime, please click on the following links to view resilience paperwork and the resilience quiz.
Mood Log is a flexible logging system making it easy to keep track of any mood related information such as anxiety, depression, menstruation, panic attacks, headaches, cramps, nausea and any other custom records. With each record you can record the severity of the event as well as a custom note and any medications taken.
Catch It uses cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help you change the way you think and feel about things. Use the app to record your mood in three simple steps:
Chill Panda helps individuals to relax, manage worried and improve wellbeing. The app measures your heart rate and suggests tasks to suit your state of mind. Tasks include simple breathing techniques and light exercises to take your mind off your worries.
The distrACT app aims to help you better understand urges to self-harm, and encourages you to monitor and manage your symptoms. It can also help reduce the risk of suicide.
There's advice and support information, including emergency contact numbers, how best to work with healthcare professionals, and safer alternatives to self harming.
In the app's Chill Zone, you can find resources that may help you feel better, including: art, books, films, music, poems, quotes, stories and online videos
"Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.” --Viktor Frankl
This is a quote from a psychiatrist called Viktor Frankl who wrote a book called Man’s Search for Meaning. He makes the case that those who deal best with the most challenging and difficult life circumstances are those who can find meaning and a sense of control over their environment. What makes his argument incredibly powerful is that he’s describing his own experience as a concentration camp inmate during the Second World War.
From his experiences, Frankl came to believe that our main motivation or drive in life is not pleasure (as Freud had thought) or power (as Adler had thought), but meaning. After the war he established a school of logotherapy – derived from the Ancient Greek term logos, meaning ‘reason’ or ‘principle’. His message is one of hope, that even in the most absurd, painful and dehumanising situations, we can choose to find meaning in our experiences.
Frankl identified three ways in which we can find meaning:
The changes we're experiencing in our lives because of coronavirus have created an opportunity for us to reflect on what matters most to us personally, and as a society.
Kindness and a sense of community has shone through, despite self isolation and social distancing. As Brene Brown says in the message below:
If you'd like to explore your own personal values and what gives you a sense of meaning in your life
Over the coming weeks, we'll be sharing a range of strategies and resources to help you build mental and emotional resilience during the Covid19 crisis. This is just as important as our physical strength if we were planning to run a marathon! And just like our physical health, taking care of our mental health is about establishing good habits as part of our regular routine.
We've been hard at work updating the Resources section of the Good Mental Health Coop website - these are resources you can use to build your mental and emotional resilience during these testing times. The Resources are divided under 4 themes - Meet, Relax, Learn, Create - please take some time to browse and check them out.
Hello Touch Friends, We are so excited to announce that everyone in our Touch Network community now has access to Big White Wall.
Big White Wall is mental health support online, anonymous and 24/7. At Big White Wall you can speak to someone who understands what you’re going through, anytime & anywhere.
There are chat rooms, resources, creative tools to express yourself, and self–guided courses all moderated by professionals and accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, whenever you need them.
Click on the button below to join our online mental health community at the Big White Wall.