During these times of uncertainty brought on by the coronavirus, those in the electrical trade may find not only their business and work being negatively impacted, but also their mental health. The Electrical Industries Charity (EIC) is keen to outline what support it can provide to industry members. Please read on for our 28th January update.
We understand this is a complex and difficult time for everyone. We are living in a time of great uncertainty and increasing worry about our health and livelihoods. We understand that the effect of COVID-19 on industry and income will be great and we will all be affected. In times of darkness and insecurity we want to let our Industry members know, that we will be here to help you.
Schools will reopen on 8th March at the very earliest, and will be given 2 weeks’ notice before reopening.
Free school meals will be arranged in the meantime for children eligible.
(BBC News – 27th January at 5pm)
8 Ways to Help Children Struggling During Lockdown:
- Know how to spot the signs. If you notice your child is becoming withdrawn, that there’s been a change in eating or sleeping habits, if they seem to lack confidence or get upset, it might be a sign they’re struggling.
- Talk to your child. If you spot the signs your chid might be struggling, it’s important to talk to them. Keep talking and trying to communicate in any way you can – hugging, listening to them, texting them.
- Create structure and routine. Try introducing a rota or loose timetable that includes fun things you’re doing during the week. This can help to create a feeling of stability, which can alleviate anxiety.
- Give children a sense of control through information. Look online with your children to find useful information and resources that help children feel they have control.
- Keep children learning. Using fun and creative ways at home to learn alongside continued access to educational opportunities will support your children’s development.
- Limit screen time and mix up activities. As most socialising moves online, it’s important to have conversations on how an increase in screen time can have an impact on everyone’s mental health and self-esteem.
- Help your child manage stress. If you spot signs your child might be struggling, it’s important to keep communication open and try to understand how they are feeling, and they are not alone in that. Help them to find ways to calm down if they become stressed – having classical music on in the background can help to keep the environment calm.
- Expressing feelings doesn’t have to be face-to-face. Children might find it easier writing their thoughts down, so the whole family could do this and put them in a ‘feelings box’ (the children could even help you to make this – taking ownership on something can help them to feel more in control). They can write down how they are feeling at the end of each day, whether they’re happy, sad or mixed up.
For younger children who are struggling with their feelings, a ‘Worry Monster’ can help the child to express them. Introduce the Worry Monster to your children as a new friend who eats up worries, so you can let them go.
Explain that if they have any worries (things they are scared of, or angry about, fears, frustrations, or things that make them frown), they can write them down on little pieces of paper, or they can draw pictures of the worries and then fold them and put them in the hidden pouch in the Worry Monster’s mouth. You can close his mouth by zipping it closed. Help them to notice these worries by talking about them while they write them down, or draw a picture if they are unable to write. Then help them make a choice to let the worries go, by feeding them to the monster.
The Worry Monster will then ‘eat up’ their worries overnight and when they check in the morning, the worries will be gone (as you will have read and removed them). In this way, you will be able to support your child in the days to come by helping to ease their fears and address their concerns. Perhaps the Worry Monster will write a letter back to the child to reassure them? Or you can say, “the Worry Monster mentioned to me that you are worried about x, y or z.”
Here’s a link to buy your own: https://www.theworks.co.uk/p/toddler-toys/large-worry-monster---assorted-colours/5052089204485.html?CAWELAID=720011340002611921&gclid=CjwKCAiAu8SABhAxEiwAsodSZLVGSJKIc0Ky8M2xcuxDxzdgIubfNXj76LAZc-MFmW4Ab8GtZqYtYhoCuCgQAvD_BwE
- The charity will consider providing small grants in immediate and urgent need.
- Provide advice to industry individuals regarding financial relief strategies and support services available to them.
- Provide support to employees worried about income, having to work and/or losing their employment.
- Strategies to implement immediately to soften the financial burden i.e. mortgage/rent holiday’s, freezing of gym memberships and others.
- Signposting to other welfare services and charities for support.
- Review of individual welfare benefits, your eligibility and support with the application process were necessary.
- Food vouchers if in immediate and urgent need.
Mental Health Support
- Self-isolation is likely to have a negative impact on our mental health and it is important we remain aware of this and try to buffer against it by putting support strategies in place. The EIC can recommend support strategies to help you cope through this time of isolation.
- Telephone and skype counselling are available to industry members.
- Psychiatric assessments for complex mental health issues are available to industry members.
- Signposting to other mental health support services and online services.
Symptoms, hygiene and self-isolation
- The EIC is recommending that individuals with pre-existing health conditions i.e. undergoing cancer treatment, heart disease, diabetes and others should self-isolated and managers need to be informed as soon as possible if you care for or reside with a family member or person who is deemed as having pre-existing health conditions. The EIC can provide further guidance to you if you feel unsure as to how to communicate this to your employer.
- Hygiene tips and resources
- Managing self-isolation