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Coping with Covid-19: where to go for support locally

In national mental health awareness week (May 18-24) we've been looking at where to turn to if you have concerns about a child or are in need of bereavement, LGBTQA+ or domestic violence support.

During the coronavirus crisis, it’s been widely reported that cases of domestic violence are on the rise, adults and children who’ve lost a relative to Covid-19 are likely to suffer trauma and post-traumatic disorder and the Royal College of Psychiatrists warn that services could be overwhelmed by “a tsunami of mental illness”.

And although men may be more at risk from the virus, new research from the Fawcett Society this week announced women are bearing more of the emotional brunt. Nine weeks into the lockdown, it doesn’t make for cheerful reading.

In national Mental Health Awareness Week (May 18-24) we’ve been looking at where you can turn to for help and support across Coventry and Warwickshire.

BEREAVEMENT

Tragically, some of us may be coping with the death of someone close to us. This loss could have been compounded by not being able to be with the person who you love when they die.  

The Mental Health Foundation has offered a few self-help suggestions that might help you with any difficult feelings you may be experiencing including getting in touch with a bereavement charity such as  Cruse, the Good Grief Trust or Winston’s wish and/or reading quality information about the death of a loved one, such as this Royal College of Psychiatrists’ (RCPSYCH) piece on bereavement

If you have children be honest with them about your own feelings and name them, advise the foundation. Help them name their own feelings and use age-appropriate language to explain a death. You may find this information from the charity Cruse useful, it talks about what you can do to help a child who is grieving. Young Minds bereavement advice may also be helpful.

University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire has launched a Coronavirus bereavement information and advice service and advises talking things through with friends and family. This can be done remotely if you or they are isolating. You can seek support from your GP or a counsellor if your feelings become overwhelming.

CHILDREN & YOUNG PEOPLE

Warwickshire’s School Health and Wellbeing team are #HereToHelp families at this difficult time. Text for confidential health & wellbeing advice from their friendly nurses. Young people 11-19: text ChatHealth on 07507 331 525; Parents/carers: text Parentline on 07520 619 376. These services are available Mon-Thurs 9am-5pm and Friday 9am‑4.30pm.

Rise -a family of NHS-led services providing emotional wellbeing and mental health services for children and young people in Coventry and Warwickshire.

Warwickshire Educational Psychology Service – is offering direct access telephone consultation to parents and carers during the Covid-19 pandemic. This service is available for 4 afternoons each week (Mon – Thur) for parents and carers who live in Warwickshire and who feel they may benefit from consultation with an Educational Psychologist to support them with concerns that they may have at this time.

Concerns might include:

  • How to talk with a child/young person about Covid-19 and any worries associated with it
  • How to help children/young people to engage with learning whilst at home
  • How to support behaviour that can be challenging or difficult to manage
  • How best to look after your own and/or your child’s mental and emotional well-being on a daily basis.

If you would like to arrange a telephone consultation with an Educational Psychologist, tel: 01926 742921 or email eps@warwickshire.gov.uk

Warwickshire Family Information Service – providing ongoing support and advice about Covid-19 for families across Warwickshire.

Think Ninja – an app for 10-18 year olds about mental health, emotional wellbeing and to provide skills young people can use to build resilience and stay well.

The Help Hub – A group of qualified therapists who listen and support individuals isolated or experiencing limited contact due to the outbreak.

Family Links – free downloads for parents regarding emotional health for all.

Shout provides free, confidential support, 24/7 via text for anyone at crisis anytime, anywhere.

ChildLine provides a confidential telephone counselling service for any child with a problem. It comforts, advises and protects.

The Mix provides a free confidential telephone helpline and online service that aims to find young people the best help, whatever the problem.

Papyrus – Young suicide prevention society. Tel: HOPELINEUK 0800 068 4141 (Mon to Fri, 10am to 10pm, and 2pm to 10pm on weekends and bank holidays)

YoungMinds -Information on child and adolescent mental health. Services for parents and professionals. Phone: Parents’ helpline 0808 802 5544 (Mon to Fri, 9.30am to 4pm)

NSPCC – Children’s charity dedicated to ending child abuse and child cruelty. Tel: 0800 1111 for Childline for children (24-hour helpline) and 0808 800 5000 for adults concerned about a child (24-hour helpline).

Beat: For support with eating disorders. The charity says demand for services has surged 50% since the coronavirus outbreak with more people struggling to cope. Tel: 0808 801 0677 (adults), 0808 801 0811 (studentline) or 0808 801 0711 (for under-18s).

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Staying home is not a safe option for all. Lockdown tension and stress has led to a sharp spike in the number of women reporting incidents of domestic abuse. Last month the UK charity Refuge flagged up a 50 per cent increase in calls to its National Domestic Abuse Helpline and a 400 per cent increase in visits to its website since lockdown began. 

In the first three weeks at least 16 suspected domestic abuse killings were reported in the UK A new Home Office campaign promoted under the Twitter hashtag #YouAreNotAlone publicises support available nationally here, including the freephone, 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline number – 0808 2000 247 – run by Refuge, and nationaldahelpline.org.uk.

If you are in immediate danger always call 999 in an emergency. If you are unable to speak on the phone, there are systems in place to connect you to the right service:

If you are calling from a mobile phone, you can use the ‘Silent Solution’ system. Press 55 and the operator will transfer the call to the relevant police force as an emergency. The police call handler will then ask you a series of simple yes/no questions. If you’re still not able to speak, listen to the instructions you are given so the handler can assess your call and send help. Please note that calling from a mobile does not allow the police to track your location.

Where to get help in Coventry & Warwickshire:

The Domestic Abuse Counselling Service works to reduce domestic abuse by providing free therapeutic intervention, working one-to-one with victims of domestic abuse from a ‘preventative perspective’ providing therapy that educates – with the purpose of increasing safety and reducing the risk of repeat victimisation. DACS services are provided from safe, accessible locations across Warwickshire.

The Family Intervention Counselling Service (FICS) – a specialist Warwickshire-based counselling agency working with families and individuals who have experienced domestic abuse.

Galop – a charity offering advice and support to LGBT+ people who have experienced violence or domestic abuse.

Refuge – If you are experiencing domestic violence in Warwickshire, Refuge’s domestic violence service can support you and your children to keep safe. Refuge is a county-wide service that provides support to women, men and children experiencing domestic violence in Warwickshire. Freephone, 24-hour Tel: 0808 2000 247

The Blue Sky Centre – a SARC where any victim of rape or sexual assault will receive medical care, police intervention (if they wish to report the crime), and various other support services. Tel: 0800 970 0370

Something’s Not Right – Barnardo’s multi-agency child sexual exploitation (CSE) awareness campaign in Warwickshire.

RoSA – an independent charity working throughout Warwickshire, offering free confidential support for anyone who has experienced rape, sexual abuse, or sexual violence.

Safeline a specialist charity providing a range of services across Warwickshire to support all survivors of rape and sexual abuse.

Rights of Women – aims to increase women’s understanding of their legal rights and improve their access to justice enabling them to live free from violence and make informed, safe, choices about their own and their families’ lives by offering a range of services including specialist telephone legal advice lines, legal information and training for professionals.

Safe to Talk helpline  – Coventry City Council’s domestic abuse helpline is available Mon to Fri 8.30am – 5.30pm and Sat to Sun, 10am – 1pm. For support call 0800 111 4998.

Women’s Aid – Covid-19: Safety and support resources

The Coventry Rape and Sexual Assault Centre (CRASAC) – works with women, men and children to address the trauma and injustice of sexual violence and abuse through the provision of specialist services. Due to coronavirus, it’s no longer offering face-to-face support. Various digital and telephone options are available to make sure it can maintain support. To make a referral, contact their helpline on 02476 277 777 and leave a message on the answer machine or email helpline@crasac.org.uk.

Karma Nirvana runs a national helpline for victims of honour-based abuse, forced marriage and domestic abuse. If you are unable to call or email, you can send a message securely on the website. Tel: 0800 5999 247

Respect – domestic abuse support and helpline for men. Tel: 0808 8010327 free from landlines and mobile phones within the UK. Your call will not appear on itemised bills. You can also call free from BT pay phones. Webchat & email available too.

LGBTQA+ SUPPORT

The current pandemic has disproportionately affected those who identify as queer, whether that is in terms of access to medical care, mental health care, or the effects of being surrounded by a family who do not accept them, regardless of whether they are out or not.

In general, those who identify as LGBTQA+ are more likely to be isolated from their already small support networks than ever during this time, thus are more likely to suffer poor mental health; experience domestic abuse from partners or family member particularly due to social distancing measures. The LGBT Foundation has seen a 30% increase in domestic abuse/violence calls to its helpline.

Another issue that is particularly affecting LGBT young people is that many have found themselves isolating in a house with LGBT-phobic parents and family members. Resources are available for all types of support; many offer 24 hours a day confidential online support, email or helplines including:

LGBT Foundation

Stonewall

Galop

The Proud Trust

Switchboard

Mermaids UK

For family & friends: fflag.org

ANXIETY & DEPRESSION

Those with existing mental health problems may never have felt more isolated or alone. 

The Mental Health Foundation, hosts Mental Health Awareness week 2020 and this year’s theme is kindess. People are to carry out or reflect on an act of kindness. Take a photo or video (with permission!) and post use the hashtags:#KindnessMatters #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

Mind’s mental health awareness week campaign 2020 #speakyourmmind encourages us all to reach out to someone who needs a friend with a positive message, or share with them your own tips for coping to make sure they don’t have to face this pandemic alone or send a message of kindness via Tik Tok challenge. Read a range of practical tips on taking care of your mental health and wellbeing here if you are worried about Coronavirus here . Tel: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm).

Coventry & Warwickshire Mind, a local mental health charity affiliated to Mind.

Relate Coventry – Relationship support

Samaritans – Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair. Tel: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)

The World Health Organisation – tips on mental health wellbeing during the pandemic.

Anxiety UK – charity providing support if you’ve been diagnoses with an anxiety issue.

No Panic – Voluntary charity offering support for sufferers of panic attacks and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Offers a course to help overcome your phobia or OCD. Tel: 0844 967 4848 (daily, 10am to 10pm). Calls cost 5p per minute plus your phone provider’s Access Charge.

OCD Action – Supports people with OCD. Includes information on treatment and online resources. Tel: 0845 390 6232 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5pm). Calls cost 5p per minute plus your phone provider’s Access Charge.

WOMEN

Men may be more at risk from Covid-19 but it’s women who are bearing the emotional toll, according to latest research by Ipsos Mori and the Fawcett Society.

Six out of 10 women said they were finding it hard to stay positive day-to-day, compared with just under half of men. Half of women were very concerned about the risk the virus posed to the country, compared with a third of men. Women were also more likely to have their employment impacted, with 33% saying their workplaces had been closed, compared with 25% of men.

#MakeWomenVisible  The Fawcett Society feels women and girls in the UK have been largely invisible from the Covid-19 debate and excluded from decision-making. It has joined forces with 60 charities calling for immediate action from the government to support women and girls during the outbreak. Working with other feminist organisations and academics it’s publishing research on the gendered impact. Read more about what the groups are asking here.

If you’d like to campaign on local women’s rights the closest group is in the West MIdlands.

Find more ideas here

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