Lockdown loneliness has attracted a crowd of helpers – including churches, charities and a Government secretary.
The Methodist Church is alerting members to the fact that while their buildings may be closed, many congregations offer phone pastoral care and an online worship experience. The Methodist Church also offers worship sheets to use at home.
Examples of online help include – Methodist Central Hall via YouTube, Thornton Methodist Church, Lancashire offering phone calls, social media presence and service materials and Wesley’s Chapel live streaming services.
Mental health support group Mind have published a list of practical ways to connect with people during the Coronavirus crisis. They recommend keeping in touch digitally with video chats, phone calls, messages or texts.
Mind suggest putting extra pictures up of those we care about can be a reminder of the people in our lives. Listening to a chatty radio station or podcast can help if our homes feel too quiet. Connecting with others in similar situations can also be achieved through online peer support communities like Elefriends, where people can share their experiences and hear from others.
The Government have launched a campaign to tackle loneliness and social isolation. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced loneliness as a ‘priority category’ of a £750 million charity-funding package. The aim of #Let’sTalkLoneliness is to get people talking openly about this issue. Useful tips and advice are shared, such as – joining a club or group online, and volunteering to support others in a similar position.
This campaign has been welcomed by Deborah Alsina, Chief Executive of Independent Age and Chair of the Campaign to End Loneliness. ‘Even before Covid-19, millions of people were experiencing loneliness,’ she said. ‘The lockdown, while necessary, has exacerbated this problem, particularly for older people.’
Three out of four over-65s feel contact with family or friends has been significantly limited, said an Independent Age survey. ‘Loneliness cannot be considered a second-tier issue during this crisis,’ Deborah added. ‘By working together, we can help ensure more people are staying physically distant, but socially connected during the lockdown.’ (Photo: Independent Age)