Health in Mind is Never More Needed

Woman depression

Wendy Bates explains how her organisation has coped with coronavirus and how it's adapting to the new normal #NeverMoreNeeded

TFN Guest's photo

3rd August 2020 by TFN Guest 0 Comments

Throughout lockdown, and the subsequent easing of restrictions, it has been important for us to celebrate all that we have achieved and reflect on the barriers we have overcome to provide our much needed support.

In addition to experiencing heavy personal loss and many challenges, there has been a lot to celebrate and learn from. Following 100 days in lockdown, we pulled together a timeline to help us do just that, which you can see on our website here. It was amazing to see how quickly our staff and volunteers moved to working online, and equally how open people using our services were to being supported in new ways.

For example, our Anxiety and Depression Peer Support group only missed one week throughout the whole of lockdown, smoothly moving to online video delivery. Throughout this time, we have offered new ways of providing connectedness when many people were physically alone.

Our staff had their own individual experience of stress and adversity too. They showed enormous fortitude and resilience in the face of this immense pressure, enabling them to continue to offer support to others. As a result, staff felt able to offer and receive peer support in addition to support through their supervision.

Wendy Bates

Wendy Bates

We also sent organisation-wide daily updates, which were followed by weekly ones. These focused on wellbeing as well as information sharing and noted the need for good, clear and timely communication. Importantly, they also fostered a sense of team spirit and organisational cohesion at a time when we could not be together physically. One thing that has not changed during Covid-19 lockdown is the need to belong and to connect with ourselves and others.

In person support is resuming now that restrictions are being lifted. This began as socially distanced walking and it continues to grow and develop as we learn more about what the new normal will look like for people. A number of our services are being offered in a blended way – with a mix of in person and telephone/ online support and we can foresee this continuing for several months. We are planning ahead for our first socially distanced group work to begin in September. We are very much adopting a “plan, do, study, act” approach – testing and learning from our experience with careful risk assessment at the centre of our work.

We are also looking to reopen our buildings on a needs-led basis. Again, this has included careful risk assessment and additional costs to our organisation as we provide additional cleaning and PPE.

Our fundraising team are also working hard to revise plans to bring much needed funds into our organisation to ensure we can continue to work to meet demand for our services. Many key fundraising events have either been postponed or cancelled and this has had a significant impact for us. Our team are working in creative ways to reach out to our supporters, for example bringing people together for a Virtual Blue cake day.

There is no doubt we face a number of significant challenges ahead. However, as we move further along the route map away from lockdown, and reflect both on what has happened and what is yet to come, we can see that the work done by charities like Health in Mind really has never been more needed.

Wendy Bates is Chief Executive of Health In Mind @Wendy_HiM