Wellbeing and mental health resources during this time of Covid-19
People throughout our community are adjusting to a new way of living presently. The current pandemic has brought with it a number of changes to our home and work lives, from what can do, to who we can see. This is a challenging time, but it is important to remember that we are not alone. Our faith has a rich tradition of religious self-isolation that can offer us both guidance and reassurance. Benedictine monk, Fr Christopher Jamison, explains more: here.
‘Not simply to endure events but, in God, to build with them.’
Brother Alois of Taize
There are a number of other ways we can foster a sense of wellbeing at this time, here are some ideas and places to find further information and support:
- Find daily prayer inspiration here for Pray as you Go daily audio prayer.
- Traditional prayers of the church from the liturgy office.
- Pathways to God from the Jesuits has a wealth of resources and guidance for prayer.
- Celebrate Conference offers resources for prayer, reflection and links for mass from the Catholic Charismatic Community.
- Psalm reflections on Youtube from Fr Trinstan Cranfield Assistant Priest at Eastbourne has created some reflections on a number of Psalms. More will be added during the Easter Season.
- Scripture can provide us with a focus for our prayer. For Bible Basics, Easter through Art and much more, The God who speaks
- CAFOD Prayer resources
- Kitchen Table Project A Christian organisation that offers activities to help you pass on your faith to your children. They collaborate with many different churches are currently working with our Bishops Conference team.
- CAFOD Education Resources have been adapted to help with home learning.
- If you have space at home you might want to create a prayer focus area with a bible, a cross and a candle (if you can safely do so.)
- If someone you know is dying you might find this website helpful, The art of dying well The current situation means that usual practices may not always be possible but prayer is always possible. The link has prayers and reflections and there is a quick list of prayers at the bottom of their webpage. Also Liturgy Office Prayers for the Dying might also be helpful to recite with family and friends if you cannot be with the person who is dying.
- The Catholic Truth Society has put together a helpful list of suggestions for several ways in which you can nourish your mental health and spiritual life during this time. CTS blog
Join the online community:
- Watch Mass onlinewith people across our Diocese and the wider world.
- Watch mass at the Vatican (English) via YouTube
- Taizé community prayer each night at 7.30pm. The Community in Taizé is split into groups to live at present and each night one group of brothers leads us all in prayer. Click here for links to the live stream.
- Keeping up your connection with friends and family is really important and so do call people and connect with them. This time is strange for us all, none of us are untouched by it. Sharing your experience may help you to have more peace with it and not feel so alone.
- Whatever you're going through the Samaritans are there. You can call them any time, from any phone, for free.
- Give Us a Shout is a texting service for those in crisis who like to connect in that way. Text Shout to 85258
- Your priests are also available to listen over the phone, so do get in touch. Do check your parish website for details. Details of parishes can be found here
- For those who work in the NHS there is a new hotline staffed by volunteers from relevant charities. Open 7.00 to 23.00 every day 0300 131 7000. Or text FRONTLINE to 85258 the text service is 24hrs a day. You will find the NHS announcement about this service here.
Look after yourself:
- The BBC have provided a useful article for people who are usually well, on how to protect your mental health at this time.
- Rethink Mental Illness also have information to support people who have ongoing mental illness cope with the changes the virus brings. Rethink
- Getting exercise – do try to keep mobile whatever your age. The charity Mind have put some helpful information together about how to stay active at home. You can access it here.
- Think about what you are eating. Here is a link to NHS Information about diet and food. Mind has a food and mood page which tells you more about how important food is for helping you stay mentally well.
- Keeping an eye on alcohol consumption is also important for wellbeing. Changes in routine can cause us to lose track. Alcoholchange.org.uk have an app that helps you track your alcohol consumption and also on their website you will find information about how to keep well in these times.
- If you are experiencing any type of domestic abuse, physical, emotional/psychological, financial/material or sexual, you can call 101 and someone will help you. If you are at immediate risk do not hesitate, call 999. For more help and information you can call the Domestic Abuse line on 0808 2000 247 or text 079 703 50366 or see their website Abuse helpline
- If you have a long term condition or serious illness and you are worried about the change in your routine, you may find that there is a support organisation with advice to help you. Always check any site for authenticity, charity nos. date of publication, patrons etc. Do not change your treatment or medication without contacting your own trained medical professional. Examples of organisations with virus updates available are: Versus Arthritis Mind MS Society Macmillan Cancer Support
- Social media is great for keeping in touch but too much news and input can be overwhelming. So think about limiting your online time, especially the news. The Mental Health project from The Bishops conference has more advice on that here Catholic Mental Health Project
Look after others:
- the NCVOhave put together useful advice on how to help others at the present time and stay safe.
- Avoid spreading false advice, and stick to the trusted sources NHS Corona Virus and WHO. If you receive a message from a friend that looks like they may have copied the text, you can look up a key phrase or idea from the text in your search engine and no doubt you will find an article from BBC, ITV or mainstream newspaper that tells you it is not true. Then you know not to pass it on. Like the virus, stop bad advice in its tracks. BBC How to stop the spread of misinformation
- If you are financially stable at this time perhaps you can give some help to charities.
- Your own parish will need support https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/parishoffertory
- As will your local hospitals, hospices and also homelessness and refugee charities.
- CAFOD will be helping those in countries that do not have the same infrastructure and health care we do. Read about what they are doing and donate if you can. CAFOD Virus Response
Appreciate the small things:
- The Ignatian Spirituality website offers a number of ways we can express gratitude in an article first published around Thanksgiving in the USA.
- Jesuits in Britain offer a more about the importance and psychological benefits of gratitude
- You could write a journal each day, just a sentence or two, or a word or phrase to express what you are grateful for each day. Some people like to write on pieces of paper which they place in a jar so in a year they can look back on all the good things.
- Perhaps when telephoning friends or family share something you are grateful for with each other.