Supporting mental health customers during the Coronavirus pandemic

Published: 9th April 2020
Victoria, Contract Manager at one of our mental health services in Richmond, tells us how they are changing support for customers like Janine* during the coronavirus pandemic *name has been changed

Victoria manages our mental health service in Richmond

The social distancing measures to combat Coronavirus have had an impact on all of our lives and it’s difficult to adapt. It has been particularly tough for our customers at our mental heath services to adapt to the changes to their daily lives. Our staff have done a lot of work helping them to adjust, assisting them with daily exercise and rearranging furniture within the service to help them stay further apart. After a challenging start, customers are a lot more understanding and less anxious about the measures.

However, this has not been the case for one of our customers in particular. Janine has mental health needs and has being supported at our service for X months/years, setting goals and working towards independent living. Her main ambition is to travel, and we were happy to support her making her first trip to Nepal last year. With the success of last year’s trip, she arranged to go again this year, flying out in February and was due to return at the end of March.

However due to the emerging global pandemic Nepal announced a nationwide lockdown, her flight was cancelled and Janine found herself unable to return home.

We were worried about her wellbeing whilst being stranded in Nepal. Janine needs monthly medical treatment to help her maintain her mental health, adding more complications to an already stressful situation. However we have been working hard to ensure we can continue to support her despite the challenging circumstances. Through phone calls and emails, we have managed to link her up with a psychiatrist in Nepal who can provide the medical support she needs, as well as finding her a hostel she can stay at.

We have played in active role in trying to get her home. Having not having much luck with phone or emails, we went to Twitter to try and get help. From this, we managed to get her on to a waiting list for evacuation flights through the British Embassy. We have also been in touch with the Foreign Office in the UK who has been providing us with guidance.

We are hoping that Janine will be home safely soon. In the meantime, we have been continuing to give her the regular support we needs, despite the long distance and intermittent phone connection! We have been sending her games, puzzles and wellbeing activities to keep her occupied and mindful, and have been helping her keep in contact in with her family. We’ve even been conducting her keywork sessions over email which has been working really well!

It has been comforting to know that we have still been able to provide the support and the positivity Janine needs despite this situation. It’s also shown how adaptable we can all be in times of challenge, and shows how we can all adapt positivity during Coronavirus.


If you would like to find out how you can support our customers through these unprecedented times, contact and follow us on Twitter and Linkedin