Covid-19 Series. WWTW Mental Health Twitter Takeover
Last night, Carolyn, WWTW’s Clinical Lead took over our Twitter account to answer questions about mental health and veteran support. We’ve collated some of the key questions we received and shared Carolyn’s answers.
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Q. What’s the best way to keep our family members in a good head-space during isolation? Any tips for elderly relatives self-isolating?
A. For elderly family members take advantage of the volunteer efforts being offered by communities. Keep in regular contact by phone or video calling.
Q. Just wondering how veterans without access to internet or a good phone line can access the help they might need?
A. For those with existing support in place hopefully a strategy would have been planned prior to lock down. It is a worry however for those with no access to the internet or a decent phone line.
Q. Is there a plan to try and reach out to those might be struggling with mental issues and who aren’t able to access their usual support?
A. This is a very important issue. There are going to be some difficulties currently though mental health services/medical services being stretched and having to deal with higher sickness absence due to coronavirus. At WWTW, we are monitoring our clients through regular welfare checks and telephone follow-ups. Hopefully, for those who are known to services there will be a careplan in place for them and if not it’s really difficult to say what they can do – I’d like to think communities would stick together and help each other out, but sadly this is not always the case.
Q. Do you have any top tips to share with our clients around keeping their anxiety to a low level whilst going through this horrible time?
A. There are many self-help resources available http://bigwhitewall.com or www.mind.org.uk, use Apps such as PTSD Coach/Mood Coach. Eat healthily, take regular exercise, find something that will keep you occupied and is enjoyable. Try to find a sense of calm – jogging, being mindful of your surroundings.
Q. Any advice for couples, families adapting to homeworking & or balancing home-schooling children/young people whilst trying to adapt to significant change in normal routine?
A. It can be quite alien working from home if you're not used to it - structure - starting the day as if you're going to your usual place of work, set aside a workstation, clear away your work stuff at the end of the day, take plenty of breaks. It's a challenging balance. You can only do your best - be kind to yourselves.
Q. Is it normal to feel more emotional during this pandemic through isolation?
A. Absolutely- emotional distress and anxiety would be normal – but this is an abnormal situation. Feeling overwhelmed and powerless would be common. These emotions can occur even if you do not generally experience anxiety
Q. A lot of people are feeling the effects of boredom. How can we help through mediation and mindfulness?
A. Mindfulness is an excellent way to cope with anxiety and it can also help with boredom. There are various Apps available to help guide you through various techniques in order to calm the mind and body, there's plenty of time to practice. A couple of helpful Apps are Mood Coach and PTSD coach - some mindfulness techniques and YouTube can help with meditation as well as relaxation techniques possibly combined with some yoga.
Q. Do you have any tips to help people cope with anxiety during the lock down?
A. Here are 5 tips to help cope - Stay connected, talk to others about your concerns, try to get your information relating to COVID-19 from trustworthy sites, look after yourself physically, try to take your mind off things with enjoyable activities
Q. Like minded people with shared interests is one way to reduce any stresses as the conversation tends to move away from our worries. It's also good to talk. Do you all find this to be true with Veterans?
A. It is good to talk and healthy to manage stress through talking to like minded people – through finding new interests or getting back into activities you once enjoyed particularly with others. Many (not all) veterans tend to stick to their peer and friend groups and not branch out further –it’s safe to be with others who ‘understand’ you – veterans have their own jargon/shared language which can seem strange to a lot of ‘civilians’. That’s totally fine if that’s what works for you.