Covid Update January 2021
It seems quite difficult to know how to greet 2021. It currently feels hard to sit the word ‘Happy’ alongside this particular ‘New Year’ when we are in our current predicament with ever increasing restrictions. We are aware that the current rise in Covid 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. 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.
Whatever our personal circumstances we are all managing loss on a daily basis, from the little things; being with family and friends, to substantial loss of livelihoods, loved ones, and our equilibrium, as we sit with so much uncertainty. Much of the media is encouraging us to be positive, look on the bright side, but this isn’t always easy when there are real struggles and difficulties to face. Whatever may be going on for you personally, it is important to be kind to yourself and not to place too high an expectation on yourself to always be cheerful. There is a time and place when we need to be stoic, but suppressing feelings means that we are not being honest with ourselves and that has repercussions too. Often if we don’t give voice to our feelings they manifest in other ways; physically we feel worn down, we can develop anxiety, maybe even panic attacks, our mood lowers and we feel demotivated, perhaps unable to cope and begin to feel isolated and alone with our feelings. We are all currently in a situation where our mental health is being challenged and we need to acknowledge this. We need to be hopeful but also acknowledge our more difficult feelings too. Allowing ourselves to own them, without fearing that we will be overwhelmed by them is an important step to looking after our mental health. Talking to friends and family can make a real difference however if you feel there is no one out there who you can share the more difficult things with we are offering a drop-in online or phone service, the details are on our Drop In Service page of this website. 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.
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. Talking with a counsellor can help and Riverside is here to support you if you are finding your circumstances are impacting on how you feel. 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. 2021 does bring with it hope that we will, once the vaccination has reached the majority, be able to return to a life that is more recognizable and meet with each other again, but as we wait, we need to take care of ourselves and this includes acknowledging how we feel and getting support if needed. The current government guidance, along with the growing realisation that the new variant of Covid -19 is more transmissible, means that to mitigate risk we are again working with our clients 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 160 clients every week. If you contact us, you will be offered an Initial Consultation so we can discuss with you your particular needs. This initial meeting, with one of our counsellors, will give you the opportunity to ask questions, find out more about how counselling can help, and enable us to determine if we are able to offer you the support you need.
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.
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