Keeping connected to stay well in lockdown
Posted on 15 June 2020
Moray Wellbeing Hub have recently been inundated with requests to access the support services of their Wellbeing Connected Moray project, funded by Moray LEADER.
Looking after your mental health by staying connected in new ways has never been more important. At Moray Wellbeing Hub the team of Champions, people who use their experiences of life challenges to support others, have been very busy. The social movement’s membership grew in just one week by an extraordinary 20 new people, which shows that Moray folk of all ages are keen to make a difference.
“It’s been a real boost to my own wellbeing, meeting all these new Champions and giving them a hand to connect up online using our tools like Zoom and Slack,” shares Chris Ritchie, Champion and Director at Moray Wellbeing Hub. “Our online friendly gatherings have so many new faces keen to connect and do more for their community. I’m delighted!”
It’s not just new Champions the team have been looking to connect but also those who have been with Moray Wellbeing Hub for some time and those less keen on online tools. Since March Chris and other volunteers have been phoning each of the 270 Champions individually to see how they are doing and to help connect them in with what is happening. One of the volunteers shares their experience;
“Connecting with Champions has been an inspiring and varied experience. Some conversations are long, some are shorter and ages vary. There are a variety of reasons for people being out of touch with us such as work, study, volunteering, not having information or confidence in using likes of Zoom etc. I usually start with asking how people are, most initial responses say “yeah, I am good” and a few minutes later a different conversation starts – “I am used to having ME time and I am missing that with everyone being at home” or “we are having a “getting on each other’s nerves” day today”. Some have been shielded and were delighted to speak to “someone else” and in a good space, doing work done around the house and garden.”
As well at this Champion focused contact, and running courses for community members such as ‘Principles of Mental Health First Aid’, the team have also been supporting those who hold the Community Connector role. Volunteers in this role are matched with people who might be isolated or experiencing more vulnerability at the moment and welcome a 1-2-1 support. Since lockdown Community Connectors have been keeping in contact with the person they support, having virtual versions of the cup of tea and chat they did before the C19 crisis in person.
Whilst online and phone is not the choice for many people to stay connected, it has enabled many to stay well and have hope at a very challenging time. Until we can meet in person again the Champions at Moray Wellbeing Hub will continue to do their best for their own health and for others in Moray. For them it is about the mutuality that sharing experiences can bring, as one volunteer shared;
“The majority of Champions I have contacted have said they are missing social contact with family especially their grandchildren and I can soooo relate to this. Many have also asked me how I am and what I am doing – I think this is in keeping with the ethos of the Moray Wellbeing Hub and being a Champion. We all have mental health and we all need support.”
Anyone of any age is welcome to join Moray Wellbeing Hub as a Champion. Check out their website for details www.moraywellbeinghub.org.uk