Staying in Touch Through Isolation
Among the many issues confronting people as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the impact of social isolation has taken a major toll.
With health and government officials advising the community to remain in-doors and maintain social distancing, the loss of social interaction has resulted in Vinnies volunteers and staff adapting the way they deliver service.
In Southern NSW, our Volunteer Engagement Coordinator for the region, Julie, has been reaching out to the community to check-in with people experiencing mental illness and isolation.
“Our friendship program matches people experiencing mental illness or who are socially isolated with a volunteer who can provide friendship and support. Normally they would meet once a week, face-to-face, to get a coffee or go for a walk in the park.
“We’ve been able to adapt the program over the phone and social media, and while it’s never as good as face-to-face contact, the interaction and all-important relationship development is still occurring."
Additionally, Julie and a team of hard-working volunteers have established a newsletter to keep participants informed, while also hitting the phones to lend an ear for those doing it tough.
“One thing stands out, and that is the huge impact of the social isolation people are experiencing during coronavirus. There’s also enormous gratitude coming from clients that someone has taken the initiative and time to call and check in on them, and show concern for them.
“We‘ve also been calling people living with a mental illness but not matched with a friend as yet. Many have very little family support and are feeling heightened anxiety and vulnerability as a result of the COVID restrictions."
While social distancing measures are beginning to ease despite concerns of a second wave of cases, Vinnies members, volunteers and staff like Julie will continue to check-in with people during this uncertain moment in time.
“We’ve got a team of volunteers who are happy to call on a regular basis for some much-needed social contact.”
To help Vinnies continue supporting people experiencing social isolation, make a donation today.
Anyone in need of assistance is welcome to give us a call on 13 18 12.