Mental Health Support

THE YEAR "FAMILY TIME" CHANGED:

It's hard to believe that it's been a year (at least in my area) since the first shutdowns and quarantines began. In the last 12 months, "family time" has looked very different. For many, it meant separation, and for others, it meant sharing space in ways they had never experienced before. Everyday living spaces became home offices, classrooms, gathering rooms, playrooms, and bedrooms for family members who needed a place to quarantine. Spaces began to look different and feel different. Containing time began to look and feel different too. Parents were now juggling teaching with working, simply trying to manage their own feelings of uncertainty while adjusting to what felt like an overnight paradigm shift in life. 

 

I'm not sure many of us realized we would still be here a year later. Yet, here we are. While this past year has had its fair share of stressors, there have also been positives that have come. For many families, this time has Involved a slowing down of what was an otherwise fast-paced life. Many have shared that they've had more time to play with their children and to take a step back to re-evaluate what is truly important in their lives. 

 

Whether you’ve experienced frustration learning “New Math” as you teach your children, or found that you actually enjoy working from home and having more time with your family around you, there are a few things to consider as we continue to manage our lives during this pandemic.

 

It Feels Different Because It Is Different: At the start of the pandemic when many were just experiencing the changes of how they “contained” their time (which I'll explain in a bit), those I was coaching would share feelings that they "should" be doing this or "shouldn't" be doing that. First, let me start by saying, "Don't 'should' on yourself." This is all-new, and no one really knows how to feel or what to do. Since the beginning, we've all been trying to figure it out day by day. We naturally don’t know how to do this, because it’s never happened to us before. Be gentle with yourself and others if there is stress or anxiety about managing a day that feels different, novel, or outright hard. Get through it the best you can.

 

Rethink the Time “Container:” The what? That's right, the "time container." When we get into our routines, we form schedules or "containers" of how we experience time. For many, their usual containers are now gone. The containers of the office or the activities that are not available right now. The container of kids physically going to school, sports, and to their friends' houses. Those containers have mostly vanished. Take time to sit with your day. What does it look like now? If you're a visual person, take time to write out the things you must get accomplished, hope to get accomplished, and wish you could do. Or, if you're like me with a short attention span (unless I'm doing something creative), then try something like the Pomodoro Method, where you do tasks in manageable timed chunks.  Most of all, realize that not all time has to be filled. In fact, if you still have downtime or more time that feels free-flowing, allow it to be just that, free-flowing. Read that book that's been collecting dust, or binge your favorite show or YT series (I have a few if you run out *wink wink). 

Give Space/Share Space: This is the biggie! Space can feel really small, really quickly. My husband and I are empty-nesters and have the luxury of having our own spaces. He has "The Man Cave," and I have "The Mom Cave," and yes, that's how I got my creative name! But it wasn't always that way. We raised our kids in a small house with little free space. Perhaps you can work with your family to create "zones'' or "zone time." Your zone might be your bedroom or the bathtub. For work, create a workspace if possible that is just yours. If not, then get a plastic container or file box where you can keep your work safely out of reach. That way, when it is time to work, you can easily find your work and bring it out. When it is time to stop, then it gets put away. Have your kids do the same. This way, you can reclaim the common spaces for other activities without work/school infringing on them. 

 

Be Gentle: Be gentle with yourself and each other. If you need a break, take one. If your kids are acting more emotional, or seem to be more challenging, remember that they too are experiencing stress. Be gentle with yourself and with each other. Take those family time-outs. Be honest with your kids, partners, whomever you share space with when you need alone time. It does not make you a bad partner or parent. It will make you a better one. 

 

Stay Connected: Lastly, I want to acknowledge that some have had to be separated from their families, whether it's due to their profession or their proximity, or something else. I also want to normalize the grief that comes with this. We celebrated Christmas with my parents over Zoom. It was weird and not as good, but it was something. Watch parties have become a thing on many platforms. Facetime and other video chats (while not the same) are second-best and can still be fun. Remember that staying safe means that you can have an extra-long hug next time. 


There has been a lot of change, and with any change, there comes adjustment, feelings, and experiences that surprise the daylights out of us. Our families look different right now because they are different right now. Be gentle with yourself and each other.\

*Originally written and published in the March Issue of SimmedUp Magazine in 2021

*TMC Creative aka The Mom Cave is a fully qualified Mental Health Professional, Make sure when seeking advice you get it from someone who is a professional in this field, please note this is just advice if you are in need of professional health or need someone to talk to, know you are not alone and please use one of the numbers below if you need it.

Contact Numbers UK

Samaritans

Available 24 hours a day to provide confidential emotional support for people who are experiencing feelings of distress, despair or suicidal thoughts.

 

Other sources of advice and support

Mind

Mind offers advice, support and information to people experiencing a mental health difficulty and their family and friends. Mind also has a network of local associations in England and Wales to which people can turn for help and assistance.

Lines are open Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm (except bank holidays).

 

Rethink Mental Illness

Rethink Mental Illness works to help everyone affected by severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, recover a better quality of life. It provides effective services and support and campaigns for change through greater awareness and understanding.

(Rethink was formerly called the National Schizophrenia Fellowship)

 

PAPYRUS UK

PAPYRUS is a national charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide. They support young people under 35 who are experiencing thoughts of suicide, as well as people concerned about someone else.

Their HopelineUK service is open 9am-midnight every day of the year (including weekends and bank holidays).

 

YoungMinds

  • www.youngminds.org.uk

  • Parents helpline: 0808 802 5544 (Mon-Fri from 9.30 am to 4 pm, excluding bank holidays)

  • YoungMinds Crisis Messenger: text YM to 85258 (available 24/7)

 

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)

A helpline for people in the UK who are down or have hit a wall for any reason, who need to talk or find information and support.

5 pm to midnight, every day of the year

 

Sane

SANE services provide practical help, emotional support, and specialist information to individuals affected by mental health problems, their family, friends and carers.

 

NHS mental health services

Find information, advice and local services on the NHS website. You can also get advice from the NHS 111 phone service.

 

Other sources of mental health help and information

Information from 

https://www.centreformentalhealth.org.uk/helplines-and-crisis-contacts

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Come and join us with no fear of judgment, our motto is 'We are all part of the same circle'

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Contact Numbers USA

Finding Treatment

  • Psychology Today offers a national directory of therapists, psychiatrists, therapy groups, and treatment facility options

  • SAMHSA Treatment Locator provides referrals to low-cost/sliding scale mental health care, substance abuse, and dual diagnosis treatment (800-662-4357)

Suicide And Crisis

Financial Assistance

  • Allsup provides non-attorney representation when applying for SSDI (800-279-4357)

  • HealthCare.gov provides specific information about coverage options in your state, including private options, high-risk pools, and other public programs (800-318-2596)

  • Needhelppayingbills.com provides information on state and local assistance programs, charity organizations, and resources that provide help paying bills, mortgage assistance, debt relief, and more

  • NeedyMeds provides information on available patient assistance programs (800-503-6897)

  • Partnership for Prescription Assistance helps qualifying individuals without prescription drug coverage get the medications they need

Advocacy And Legal

  • Legal Services Corporation provides civil legal aid to low-income Americans. Use their website to find programs in individual states. Scroll to the bottom of their website to find locate legal aid near you

  • National Bar Association provides a directory of state and local bar associations to help find legal representation

  • National Disability Rights Network protects the civil rights of individuals with disabilities, particularly in hospitals and state prison systems. Click on the map on the right-hand side of their website to locate the agency near you

Community Support Services

  • Clubhouse International provides a directory of clubhouses. Clubhouses provide opportunities for education, employment, and social activities. Click the 'International Directory' tab on their website to find contact information for local clubhouses

  • www.homelessshelterdirectory.org provides a national directory of homeless shelters, assistance programs, soup kitchens, and more

  • Job Accommodation Network provides resources and guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. Their website includes a directory of state vocational rehabilitation offices (800-526-7234)

Research & Statistics