A Peace Foundation contribution to Mental Health Awareness Week
One of the unique aspects of what the Peace Foundation does is predicated on social connection. Most issues related to violent conflict is about opposites and division and the creation of an ‘us’ and ‘them.’ Trying to stop the perception that there is an ‘other’ and preventing the fear and even hating that ‘other’ is key to stopping what sometimes leads to violence.
So, our work is often highly connected and using techniques of games and connecting people. Our caseworker service is also about being connected and ensuring those affected by violent conflict are given social support to promote health and well being.
So, Covid 19 has driven an unexpected and huge challenge to that. At its worse Covid 19 can take somebody’s life, it can create illness on a continuum from mild to severe, but it has also been a huge divide across society and even across the globe. From the US and China at global level, to political spats here, to within families there are hundreds of examples of division. The often-repeated mantra of ‘we are all in this together’ is somewhat disingenuous as we are divided by many factors. Currently, more than most we need connections and a coming together.
Aulona Ulqinaku, from the University of Leeds, writing in the Conversation (20th May 2020) says: “The growing pool of research into the psychological impact of COVID-19 on mental well being indicates that many are concerned and frustrated at best, fearful and lonely at worst. One study in China found the coronavirus led to heightened anxiety, depression, and indignation, as well as sensitivity to social risks.
“Being isolated at home for weeks on end has left many feeling what psychologists call socially excluded. Research shows this can affect people in different ways. It can damage your caring instincts and make you less empathetic. It can also increase your need for emotional connection to help you cope.”
The Peace Foundation is adapting fast. Our Peace Centre is now ‘bio-secure’ and working with the NHS to support their efforts in Warrington. Our team are safe and are working in a different way, and when we re-enter education and communities we will be first class in ‘bio-secure’ practice. And, most importantly, our caseworkers supporting people affected by violence are working at pace to ensure everybody feels connected and supported. We have had to adopt new methods of contact.
We have providing additional support to those in most need and been working to decrease any feelings of isolation and loneliness. One such effort is in helping people deal with any boredom they may be feeling. Our boredom busters and supportive advice is a real boost to well being. The boredom buster graphics are provided to those who need or want help in discovering new activities. Today, as part of Mental Health Awareness week we share them with all of you – please feel free to share and use them.
There are four of them, and more in preparation.
You can view them here:
Thank you to our colleague Donna Craine for the idea and content and, for the collaboration and creativity to Kate Jones – read Kate’s professional profile here or visit | Counselling South Manchester and find her on Facebook at Therapy Advances