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COVID Community Offer Blog: Mental Health Support

Leonie Hammond, Community Organiser Co-Ordinator, explains the importance of good mental health and what our teams are offering to support residents with this. 

Usually, I get to spend a lot of my working hours within the communities, hosting coffee pop-ups and litter picks alongside our brilliant Community Organisers. However, the lockdown has put a halt to all of our outdoor engagement activity and we’ve had to find creative solutions to make sure people stay connected.

Now is the time when asking “How are you?” means so much more. A lot of people are experiencing this uncertain time in so many different ways; through a loss of normality & routine and feeling anxious about the future. It is important to remember that it is perfectly normal to feel all of these things and more; everybody reacts to things differently and everyone is entitled to their feelings.

How we feel has a huge impact on our mental health and our well-being. Some may feel bored, frustrated or lonely, which is why it is important to have someone to reach out to. Expressing worries, or even taking your mind off something will help your well-being – even sharing the experience and knowing that you are not alone can be comforting. The key thing we have learned from all of this is that the smallest conversation can generate the biggest impact.

With one million people aged 65 and over in the UK reporting they are often or always lonely, our Befriending Service is one of many steps we are taking in order to reduce this problem within our community. Our fantastic volunteers would arrange regular social visits with residents who are isolated to spend some time with them and get involved them in different community activities. While we can’t pop to the bingo or share a cup of tea and biscuits, we knew this was something we needed to develop, now more than ever.

Because of this service, we could launch our brilliant Telebuddy system, where local people are able to establish connections and regular phone conversations to stay in touch. Through frequent telephone calls, we have been able to support so many people who are experiencing loneliness, a loss of routine and going through a tough time.

With our Telebuddies service, we have had amazing feedback from service users having something to look forward to, especially as some people had been experiencing days of not talking to anyone.  Another buddy has expressed how lovely it was to engage in different topics of conversation with someone new in addition to the routine catch-up with their daughter.

We cannot stress the importance of finding new ways to take care of your mental health now that we aren’t able to socialise as much. It’s crucial to keep occupied and to stay positive, and to anyone who is struggling, please contact us at Compass Support as we have lots of different services that can help.

There are lots of simple things you can do at home to provide a bit of self-care so here are some of my top tips to look after your well-being:

Take care of your mind and body

Exercising doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym. Take time for a walk, even just around the block. Or have some fun trying a new work out – Zoe hosts a great workout for all levels via our Compass Support’s Facebook page. Remember to eat regularly, maintain a balanced diet and limit treats such as alcohol, sweets and chocolate.

Carry on doing the things you enjoy

When you feel low, you can tend to stop all those things you enjoy. Maybe you feel guilty you that you shouldn’t be having fun, or doing something for yourself. Make an effort to focus doing something you enjoy, or learn a new hobby that will encourage some excitement.

Take time to relax and look after your sleep

Good quality sleep makes all the difference, especially if you are feeling low, anxious or worried. Go to bed a little earlier than planned, make sure your room is decluttered and there are no distractions to rest your mind.