Our counselling and bereavement team is continuing to provide telephone, online and face-to-face support sessions to adults, children and young people throughout COVID-19. Between now and the beginning of the first national lockdown back in March 2020, the service has supported over 115 people.
Rachel Leech, children and young people’s counsellor, has provided an update. She said: ‘We have adapted the way that the service is offered to ensure that we meet everyone’s needs. I’ve heard the phrase that “we are in the same storm but we’re not necessarily in the same of boat” and that’s very true. Some people are incredibly vulnerable, health wise, and need to shield. They have been advised not to leave their home unless absolutely necessary. We understand this and offer telephone or online counselling to ensure that we can still provide a service for people in that particular “boat”.
‘We have sent out ‘Muddles, Puddles and Sunshine’ bereavement books for children. We’ve learnt how to use Zoom and Microsoft Teams to offer online counselling. Some people need face-to-face counselling. Children and young people often need to use creative methods or play to explore their feelings, and face-to-face sessions are necessary to do this. Some people are vulnerable to loneliness and mental health conditions and we recognise that it is vital that we offer face-to-face appointments when online and telephone support does not feel appropriate.
‘We know that our support matters more now than ever. The world is different and COVID adds another layer of trauma to illness and bereavement. To make sure that everyone that needs to see a counsellor face-to-face does, we have taken every step possible to ensure that anyone that comes into Blythe House Hospicecare is COVID safe. We provide grade two medical masks for everyone that comes to Blythe House that is able to wear a mask. We conduct checks before each appointment to ensure anyone that comes for a counselling appointment is free of symptoms and not been in contact with anyone that has COVID. All counsellors wear grade two medical masks, and when working with play with young children, gloves and aprons are also worn. Surfaces and objects are wiped down after every appointment.
‘Please know that we are still here for you no matter what “boat” you are in, and we look forward to the day when normality resumes and we can see you all face-to-face again. In the meantime, continue to take good care and stay safe.’