During this lockdown, where is the support and is help over the phone enough?

Having far too much time on my hands (as I often have) during this lockdown, I went through some of my ‘virtual‘ photo albums and was drawn back to a video I made with the Royal Osteoporosis Society, 5 years ago.

I was approached by the Society as they had seen my blog and thought I would be the perfect candidate for their next campaign. They wanted to highlight the fact that Osteoporosis affects women of all ages, not just older ones as is routinely thought.

I had a fantastic day filming it and the last time I looked, it had been seen over 4 1/2 thousand times. I also remembered the support I had from the Osteoporosis Society helplines; it was invaluable at the time and I don’t think I could’ve emerged from my dark, black depression that I was in the year or two following my fracture, without them.

(click here to see the video and my wistful looking up to the hills!)

I was very lucky in many ways back then. I had a loving family who all supported me, an amazing husband who never complained about having now to do the bulk of the caring duties and the household tasks.

But I still needed extra help; I couldn’t vocalise my fears to anyone close to me and I spent many a night in the ‘wee small hours of the morning‘ crying alone in the dark.

So I phoned them. And cried. And cried some more but that was ok, they listened and never told me how I should be feeling or what I should be thinking. And that helped so much, I never met them or saw them but that calm friendly voice was so helpful and reassuring, it allowed me to calm and gave me the opportunity to share my thoughts, however pessimistic or dark they may have been.

But this was 5 years ago when everything was ‘normal‘ and the opportunity to have a volunteer come for a visit or for me go to a support group meeting was there and it was easy, but those ‘normal‘ things are not available during this lockdown.

New parents have no support with their babies, new mums having no guidance on how to breastfeed, people struggling with their mental health having no support groups. A quick chat on the phone is all that is available to them.

Sometimes that works (and thank god it does) and as I was researching for this post, I found this quote from the Mind mental health page

Once a girl actually answered the phone and kept me talking through my thoughts and suicidal feelings for almost three hours! To her I shall be eternally grateful!

I know exactly how she feels……

I also looked on the Samaritan’s website and they were using a text talk kind of thing which I thought was amazing. You can find them here if you need them or on 116 123.

A simple Google search brings so many helplines and societies and I easily found a site aimed at young adults who are struggling. It’s called Young Minds and you can find them here. They are the UK’s 1st 24/7 text support site and their number is 8525

And whilst a telephone conversation might the start of someone’s recovery, that doesn’t mean that that is all they would need? How do you Zoom a mother and show her the hold that would help her baby latch on? Or virtually hold the hand of a struggling youngster? Or ‘feel‘ the contractions of a first time mother?

We all need the ‘human touch’ don’t we? But until these lockdowns end and the surgeries, hospitals and help centres re-open, this is all we have. And we must use them as leaving these issues often lead to a worse outcome. There are so many helplines out there, all with different ways to get in touch. The ‘text talk‘ like the one on the Young Minds website is brilliant and I know that I would’ve loved something like that when I was struggling mentally.

So please if you need them, use the links here or Google them, don’t let your anxiety drown you out like it did to me.

Seek help, it is there. Xx

Depression https://www.supportline.org.uk/problems/depression/

Mental health struggles https://www.centreformentalhealth.org.uk/helplines-and-crisis-contacts

Depression help here. http://depressionuk.org/index.php/how-we-can-help/national-links/

Anxiety worries. https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/

Trans help. https://www.trans.ac.uk/ResourcesInformation/Helplines/tabid/7257/Default.aspx

Gender identity. https://www.supportline.org.uk/problems/gender-identity/

Childbirth, breastfeeding, toddlers etc help. https://www.nct.org.uk/baby-toddler/feeding/common-concerns/breastfeeding-concerns-problems-and-solutions

Breastfeeding help. https://abm.me.uk/get-breastfeeding-support/