Covid – 19 Update 28 September 2020
Earlier this month I wrote an update when it felt as if our lives were beginning to open up again. It felt as if we were in a new phase when schools were returning, and work and social spaces were opening once again. However, during this past week there has been a notable change in tone in the government guidance. As Covid cases are beginning to rise, we are again being asked to mitigate risk. One of the ways of doing this, that impacts on our work at Riverside, is the request to work from home if we can work from home.
In response to this we have made the decision, that we need to act responsibly, and return to working with our clients predominantly either via a video call or on the phone. Our aim is to offer counselling to those most in need, who are struggling with mental health difficulties, during these very trying times, as safely as possible. As a team there are over 50 professional volunteer counsellors seeing 140 clients every week, so for most clients this will mean working online or on the phone. For a few clients it may be clinically sound to offer face to face sessions, in Covid secure venues, and this will be thought about carefully prior to or following an Initial Consultation with one of our counsellors.
We are aware that the current rise in cases, the concerns, and issues this raises together with the elongated time period we have been living with restrictions and uncertainty is having a profound effect on the country’s mental health. There is a lot for us to be continually navigating, keeping abreast of changes in regulations and much still feels ambiguous. It is not always clear how best to respond to the expectations of others, and to manage our feelings when our desire to be more with friends and family is constantly being thwarted, even though we know that the measures are in place to keep us safe. It is difficult not to judge and blame, and to hold our capacity to be compassionate and understanding. It feels that it would be easy to slip into a divisive way of thinking. We are all trying to manage loss and fear and we all respond to these feelings differently. It feels important that as a society we remain thinking and support those around us to do the same.
We all in a position where the world feels perhaps a frightening place to be, we are uncertain about what may evolve. What was initially primarily a physical health crisis has now become both a mental health and for many a financial crisis too. The financial impact has caused additional strain and increased levels of stress and hardship for individuals and families. We have yet to understand the full impact of the pandemic but we as a service are aware that the added pressures, uncertainty, fear, loneliness, and loss inherent in the situation, are taking their toll and we want to support those who feel overwhelmed.
Riverside has been supporting the mental health of people in Henley and the surrounding area for over 30 years. It has been good to get know the communities where we are based, and we want to support those individuals who feel they need mental health support to sustain them through this difficult time.
It may well be that some of you reading this feel you would like to find out more about how to access counselling. Please do get in contact if you feel having a safe and confidential ‘space’ could be of value to you at this time and please remember that cost should not be a barrier to getting the help you need. We appreciate for many finances are tight and we will definitely take this into consideration. We are also offering free sessions to key workers who we all know are working in difficult circumstances and particularly need our support.
You can find out how to arrange counselling here
Affordable fees and bursary sessions are made possible by donations from trusts, grants and fundraising, on which we are dependent to keep the service sustainable and viable. Please do visit our ‘support us’ page to see how you can help us increase capacity, so we can meet the increase in demand.
We also have details of resources on our website which you can access to support your mental wellbeing on our ‘Other Useful Resources Page’. We do appreciate that there are very real concerns people will be facing and we hope that these resources can be of support to you and your family. We are continuing to add to the website information that we feel may be useful to you, so do come back and visit the site.
Although things feel uncertain and unsettling, it is also a time perhaps when we can slow down and take time to reflect and learn new ways of being in touch; to maybe change old habits and routines. It is perhaps a time to be kinder to yourself. It is more important than ever that we all act responsibly and help each other. Riverside is here and we would like to support you.
Take extra good care of yourself and everyone else and please do visit our website for updates.
Some articles and tips on managing during the Coronavirus pandemic
Managing anxiety | Top tips on how to manage anxiety from the NHS, click here to read the article
Psychological Tips on How to Survive your Family, click here to read the article
Looking after your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak | Mental Health Foundation, click here to read the article
Tavistock Relationships www.tavistockrelationships.org/free-services, 020 7380 1960 | You can apply for their totally free “Building Relationships for Stronger Families” programme
http://www.flagdv.org.uk | You can apply for a referral form for free legal advice appointments for victims of Domestic Violence