Pre-pandemic, we knew that people with mental health problems struggled to manage their financial wellbeing and access essential services, including financial services, water, energy, and telecoms problems and could be exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis.
People with pre-existing mental health problems risk their condition deteriorating as they navigate challenges without much-needed help from loved ones or professionals.
Growing numbers of people start to experience poor mental health, distress and anxiety, which could in turn lead to struggles managing money and a fear of contacting essential service providers.
Many will struggle with the double whammy of reduced income and higher bills from being at home more.
To support essential service providers and their front-line staff, The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute have put together a list of eight urgent standards that organisations can adopt right now
not disconnecting people from essential services writing to customers to let them know what support is available
making it easier to get in touch remotely by increasing webchat capacity
and offering callbacks
telling customers on websites and telephone on-hold messages, things like, which documents they’ll need, what questions might be asked, how else people can get in touch and what the likely wait time is
breaking down information into manageable sections and waiting while customers write it down
helping customers stay in control of their spending by having easy to use spending caps or blocks on certain types of spending
signposting to additional support services
Please take a look at the The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute (link above) and see if there is anything you can use to help the people you care for.
Staying happy, healthy and safe- Missing Friends and Family Members
I have shared some great ideas that I saw on aGo Play Sandwell document
At the moment, things might feel very strange; you might be really missing seeing and being with your friends or family members who don’t live with you. But by staying safe at home, we can keep our family and friends safe too. If you are missing your friends and family, some of the ideas below might help you to stay in touch.
I have had a go at this
Make a list of your favourite friends and family phone numbers, email addresses, postal addresses.
Sharing is caring: remember to tell someone that you live with about how you feel.
Write a letter, poem or rap to a friend or a family member telling them why they are a good friend/relative to you and what you miss most about not being able to spend time with them. You could also share your favourite memories of times you spent together. Parents can post letters when they do an essential shop.
Plan a list of activities that you want to do with your friends when you can see each other again.
Create a collage of photos of your friends and families; if you don’t have any photos draw them instead!
Arrange to watch things on TV or online with your friends and then call them to chat about what you thought of it on phone or gaming device.
Set up a weekly challenge (remember to stay safe online!) Create a list of activities between your friends and yourselves. Share the photos and vote for the best response. Some examples could includeA weekly bake-off challenge and then post pictures of your efforts. -A garden/home treasure hunt. Have a start-stop time and post pictures of the things you have found Have an online karaoke party Hold a book club and choose one book to read each week. Think of one question each about the book and have an online discussion. Choose a time to all visit an online zoo and then talk to one another about your experience.
Keep a journal: just a sentence or a picture a day about how you feel, what you did so you can share it with friends or family later.
Sharing memories about my family start a family tree; this is a great way to share memories of our family members, have a look at family photos (both digital and physical). Make a list of your family members and all come up with a positive thing about them and write it next to their name. You can do this with your friends on social media too. Make a keepsake box of tickets, receipts, photos, trinkets – things that make memories of your family member. Draw a picture with yourself in the middle and your family members around you write a positive thing that links you to each member.
Choose a day to have a family picnic in the garden or a carpet picnic in the house and ask your other family members to do the same and share the fun on your video phones.
It’s always a good idea to do a budget but at this difficult time we all should all do an “emergency budget” whether that’s a full spreadsheet or on the back of an envelope, or one of our online planners, anything is better than nothing.
It’s not always much fun but you will be pleased you did it once it’s all over
This is what a colleague sent me earlier this week ………………..
“From our own situations, we are having to shop and support both sets of elderly parents and have had to use more expensive corner shops to get their shopping as the supermarkets were not safe to go near, I’m sure there’ll be others like us doing the same which will have a massive impact on budgets.”
There are some great online budget planners which work really well and in this time of home curfews perhaps we have a little more time to have a go!
We recognise that at this time it may be one of increased financial pressure for most people.
Now that the majority of the country will be working from home, it gives scammers a new opportunity to think of ingenious ways to gain access to data. We cannot stress enough the importance it is to remain vigilant at these times. If you receive a call you’re not expecting to terminate it immediately. If you receive an email that looks suspicious don’t click on any links or attachments.
Take a look and see what you can share with the people you care for, friends, family & colleagues.
Most importantly stay safe …. and some tools to help…..
4. Reporting a Scam – Action Fraud can get the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau to investigate scams. They’ll also give you a crime reference number, which can be helpful if you need to tell your bank you’ve been scammed. Read our advice on trying to get your money back after a scam.
This is an exciting opportunity to be a part of a charity that is a member of a national brand. Join a growing organisation that excels in delivering a great service to clients and cares about its employees. Become a part of a team that puts excellence and clients at the forefront.
Citizens Advice Sandwell is seeking to recruit an enthusiastic Support Worker to work in a busy office with a relatively large team of volunteers and staff. This person will be required to appropriately triage clients who visit the office.
The Support Worker will oversee the functioning of the reception area and have excellent customer service skills. The ideal person must, therefore, be well organised, able to work under pressure, while maintaining high standards in all aspects of their work.
The right person will motivate, nurture and support volunteers, as well as apprentices, who will be based in the reception area.
The candidate must have a good standard of English, numeracy and I.T knowledge. It is essential they can carry out administrative tasks accurately and meet deadlines with minimal supervision.
To obtain an application pack for this post, please email: email@example.com
A partnership between Citizens Advice Sandwell and Brushstrokes, helping newcomers to settle well in Sandwell, becoming economically and socially active and starting to contribute to the life of their local community
The project is funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Who can receive support?
Sandwell residents who have newly arrived in the UK in the last 2 years. Support will not be available through the project for asylum seekers or individuals who are in the UK without leave to remain.
What support can we provide?
Our support workers known as Community Navigators will deliver very practical advice and hands-on support to newcomers, dealing with their immediate issues and helping them to settle more permanently in Sandwell:
● Dealing with immediate problems, through advice on housing, benefits
● Support to access immigration advice
● “Settling Well” orientation to their new community. This will include accompanying clients to appointments, GP and dentist registration, familiarisation with appropriate use of health services, awareness of housing rights and responsibilities, familiarisation with local waste disposal arrangements.
● Support to access English classes
● Linking into local activities in the communities where the migrants settle, bringing resident communities and migrants together
Our approach – flexible and joined up preventative advice and support, tailored to meet the needs of each client.