Claire Flynn, Limerick Mental Health Association
SOMETHING which has often been overlooked during the Covid-19 crisis is the impact it can have on one’s mental health.
With all but key workers asked to self-isolate until at least this weekend, many people have been left feeling lonely, and low in spirits.
In order to help people out, the Limerick Mental Health Association, which runs its service out of Sexton Street, has been telephoning the 155-or-so people who use the service in order to check in on them.
Claire Flynn, the project manager with the group, said: “We have decided to call members to check in with them to see how they are and whether we can offer them any support. We have an information box available to us. So if someone needs something particular, or they have queries as to how to ask for medication, anything like that.”
She said while the majority of people are reporting that they are okay, they are providing extra support to a number of people.
"The majority of people are okay, they have family, friends or other people who are very supportive of them. They are in a good space themselves, they mind themselves. But they might find it difficult because their routine has changed. That has been completely disrupted for a lot of people. So they need to find new ways to support themselves,” she explained, “At this time, anxiety and loneliness can be much higher and much worse.”
Claire thinks the coronavirus pandemic has shone a light on the great problem of loneliness in our society.
“Some people live like this all the time. Some people are isolated all the time,” she explained.
The Mental Health Association is also offering a top-ten list of tips to help you support your mental health during the effective coronavirud lockdown.
1) Acknowledge your concerns
2) Brainstorm the things you're doing well
3) Talk to your loved ones about their needs and your own
4) Draw up a list of important telephone numbers
5) Put the list in an easily reached spot
6) Make contact with your mental health team as required
7) Make a plan together now to make things easier
8) Make contact with friends and neighbours who you can have on standby
9) See what shops are delivering in your area and make contact
10) Have a chat with a local pharmacy to discuss prescriptions
If you need to avail of support from the Limerick Mental Health Association, you can call Aoife on 087-2074637 or Irene at 087-2485742.
Elsewhere, another mental health service provider, Grow has also launched a new initiative to help people cope with the restrictions surrounding Covid-19.
Through its web site – www.grow.ie - the Henry Street-based group is providing information, advice, podcasts, coping techniques and fun tasks, centred around looking after our mental health during times of social isolation.
Grow chief executive Michelle Kerrigan said: “The outbreak of the coronavirus has resulted in a great deal of change to our lives and we all face the challenge of adapting to the 'new normal'. Much of what we knew as being normal has changed. The simple things like meeting up with a family member or friend for a chat, a playdate for the children, going on holiday, taking part in sport, pursuing a hobby, or even attending our Grow Support Group Meetings are no longer available to us.”
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