Mental Health and Covid-19 NWCH

On March 23rd 2020 the UK went into lockdown. With such drastic changes happening so quickly for the country, there were big adjustments to be made both in our day to day lives as well as mentally. Now as the lockdown eases and the world begins its ‘new normal’ there are a whole new set of feelings and emotions coming to light.

When lockdown began we took the decision to go online – we simply could not let our clients go without the much-needed counselling sessions. It was incredibly important to us that we could offer help to anyone who needed it. This came with its own challenges – ensuring that our clients were able to speak confidentially to us and that our counsellors had the correct technology and private space as well as ensuring the platforms we were using were safe.

We worked hard to allow our clients to be able to access their much-needed counselling and to support any individuals and businesses that needed our help.

Lockdown was a new experience for everyone. Despite the fact that we were all experiencing the same lockdown restrictions, everyone’s experience of it was vastly different. There were children missing the structure and support of the school and their friends, parents homeschooling their children whilst trying to work full time, key workers supporting their community by continuing to work as well as people facing uncertainty about their jobs – and these are just a few of the many scenarios. When you consider the huge transitions people made in such a small time, it is understandable that so many people experienced negative feelings such as anxiety, stress, low mood/depression or loneliness, some for the first time in their lives.

For many people, these feelings are often temporary, however, if left untreated these feelings can develop and soon become overwhelming. It is important to seek help before this point – which is why we wanted to keep our services available during the pandemic. A recent survey by Nuffield Health reported that around 80% of British people working from home now feel lockdown has had a negative impact on their mental health, while a quarter of those (25%) said they were finding it difficult to cope with the emotional challenges of isolation. It is vital at times like this, that we check in with those around us and reach out if we feel negative emotions.

During difficult times we can try to protect our mental health – here are just a few tips:

Read-only reputable news – ensure you have the facts and don’t allow yourself to be taken in by fake news.

Keep in touch with your friends & family – Social media is a great way to keep in touch with those around you, but try and limit your screen time and avoid scrolling through social platforms for too long.

Keep active – Although there were restrictions on exercise at first, enjoying the outdoors can really boost your mood and allow you to feel free from the confines of your home.

Plan your day – Having a plan can help you to feel more in control, especially when you cannot control what is happening in the outside world.

Try meditation – Meditation & yoga are a great way to relax and clear your mind to focus on the present.

Sleep – Although you may find it difficult to sleep right now, it is important that you try as best you can. Avoiding technology before bed can help you to get a good night’s rest.

These tips are helpful, but no matter how small or insignificant you think your feelings are, it is important to seek professional help and advice sooner rather than later. You can have a free telephone consultation with us and find out more about our counselling services.

Over the past month, we have been busy putting in place new measures to ensure the safety of our clients and counsellors, so that we can begin seeing our clients face to face. We have installed screens, providing face masks and face coverings, hand sanitiser is available and we are only using the larger rooms so that there is enough distance during sessions.

As the lockdown eases, it is important to understand that not everyone is feeling good about the situation. There is a lot of change and uncertainty, for people already battling with their mental health it can become even more stressful. If you are feeling worried or nervous about the ‘new normal’ it is important not to hide these feelings. Talk to someone about them or seek help from a professional if you need to.

No matter how small or insignificant you feel your problems might be, it is important to acknowledge and overcome these feelings in the right way. If you need to speak to a qualified professional and experienced counsellor we can help you. You can arrange a free initial consultation and we aim to speak to you within 24 hours so there is no waiting around.

Click here to contact us today.

COUNSELLING HUB IS UNDER PRESSURE

Owner and co-founder of the phenomenally busy Lincoln-based Naomi Watkins Counselling Hub today pledged that her team would continue supporting hundreds of clients during the Coronavirus epidemic.

Owner Naomi Watkins-Ligudzinska said the Community Interest Company, whose team members are using their individual expertise to help around 100 people a week – who are suffering from anxiety, trauma, depression and complex mental health needs – are determined that people will not be left ‘high and dry.’

But she explained that the team is facing challenges because (unless the Chancellor intervenes) the CIC could find itself short of funds to carry on its work depending on how long the current crisis lasts.

“We are open and ready to support clients and businesses right now but we are transitioning to the use of telephone and Online options to maintain the level of service we provide. We feel this is vitally important.

“Every client – from children with their parents to elderly individuals – is assessed when they are referred to us and given a bespoke programme of support. That gives them some idea of how many sessions they might need to help them start getting their lives back on track.

“Obviously, in the current climate, we are concerned about everyone’s mental health, but we don’t want all the good work we have been doing with our current clients to be undone, when many of them are doing so well. This is why we are relying on telephone and online contact.

“Funding-wise we have had some wonderful grants over the past three years for specific aspects of our work. That support has helped us to counsel many more people in need from all walks of life.

“However, in a general sense, and thinking about the weeks ahead, we hope to see some Government intervention to help us in these unprecedented circumstances because the local Clinical Care Commissioning Group currently has no statutory obligation to finance us.

“Without this sort of support, we may have to reduce our help for clients due to potential financial pressures and that is the last thing we want.”

Naomi’s advice for everyone trying to manage their mental health under the Coronavirus, is prioritise your self-care, avoid excessive consumption of the media, focus on things you can control like staying home and handwashing, keep in touch with family and friends via telephone and online services. Eat well, stay hydrated, have a walk once a day, keep busy with things you enjoy doing.

For further information, please contact Naomi Watkins-Ligudzinska on 07772 532185

Covid 19 & Domestic Abuse

Important Announcement – Public Health

Dear all NWCH clients (all current clients will also be emailed separately with this information).

As part of our duty of care as a mental health provider we would like to take this opportunity to reassure you that we are closely watching the developing matters relating to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), taking keen note of information disseminated by Public Health England, the Department of Health, and our local Government. We would like to take a proactive rather than reactive approach to the situation. We are continually reflecting about ways in which to keep our clients and staff safe.

Here is the link to the World Health Organisation (WHO) page about the virus https://buff.ly/2uA6LBt which gives information on how to protect yourselves.

Following last week’s press conference from the UK Government and yesterday’s advice, where it was announced that the UK is entering the Delay Phase, and taking into account the changing nature of the situation, we would like to let you know that the NWCH Hub remains open at this time unless national advice changes, however here are some points to be aware of:

1. Skype / telephone appointments are available:
If you would rather not attend the Hub for a session that you have booked in, as always, Skype or telephone consultations are available. If you would like to take this approach please let us know as soon as possible in advance of your session so that we can make sure you and us are fully equipped for this session. This option is also naturally available for those that choose / need to self-isolate. The fees for sessions remain the same, those of you that have funded sessions will not pay for your sessions as normal.

2. Your health:
In line with the advice stated by the National Press Conference last week, if you have a new and constant dry cough, or if you have a raised temperature (higher than 37.8c) you will need to stay at home and rest for 7-14 days. In addition to this, if you feel that you have developed symptoms, please call ‪111‬ or visit https://t.co/hztqvxsWb0

3. Our health:
Should any of our staff develop any symptoms or become aware that they have been in contact with anyone asked to self-isolate, or if they are diagnosed, they will immediately postpone their sessions. We will make those booked in aware of the situation and will not re-start sessions with that counsellor until they have been given the all clear by primary health care professionals / have been clear of symptoms for 7-14 days. You will be provided with contact details for other organisations and/or offered telephone/skype sessions.

4. Online advice:
Please only take advice from trusted sources such as NHS England, found here: https://t.co/vZvkU18g1i

Whilst many of the people who have the virus will only experience mild to moderate symptoms, we feel we have a duty of care to especially protect those with complex / serious ill-health issues, pregnant people and older people over the age of 70 years of age, and by taking extra care, we reduce the risk of passing the virus onto those people and those closest to us.

These are very unusual circumstances, but we feel it is best to be prepared and aware. We will continue to monitor the situation and update you accordingly with any further changes. Please do feel free to ask any questions you may have with your counsellor at your appointment or please also feel free to call or email us.

Thank you for your continued support and we wish you all the best of health in these uncertain times.