I read an interesting article this morning from an organisation reflecting on lessons learnt from the last 12 months of pandemic and it prompted me to spend a few moments pondering on what Adavu has learnt.
These are some of my thoughts:
- the pandemic and associated lockdowns (currently in the midst of lockdown 3.0) has had a massive impact on the mental and physical health of our clients. Not only have they had less access to vital health services (e.g. face to face GP and counselling appointments, pain-management injections, regular check-ups), the enforced severing of crucial support networks and friendships (from formal peer support groups to regular shopping and park trips with friends) has increased a sense of isolation and in some cases, a re-triggering of trauma.
- lockdown has only reinforced the absolute value of social support and friendships
- a common response from our clients is their concern for the wellbeing of others – and not themselves
- so many specialist services have moved to remote support: from counselling to psychiatric therapy to money and benefits advice and employability support and college courses. This has reduced the value of such support and our clients have not benefited as much as they previously did.
- the injustice of digital inequality and the need for clients to have access to devices and data
- the injustice of enforced evictions and relocations from NASS accommodation during lockdown – not only does this increase the risk of Coronavirus spreading, but it adds stress to clients as they seek accommodation in a rental market with very little movement and few vacancies at the moment.
- the need for emotional and wellbeing support for staff who are restructuring their work methods, learning vast amounts of new knowledge and skills, and dealing with the vicarious trauma that comes from a demanding and intensive caseload supporting some of the most vulnerable in our communities.
- the strength and resilience of our clients, their families and Adavu staff intent on continuing to provide a quality service in challenging times