Over the last year of being ‘locked down’ we have all experienced many new challenges in all aspects of our lives. One of these challenges our members chose to speak about was mental health awareness. The lockdown threw the whole world into a new era of remoteness and living through a screen, with people with learning disabilities being no different to these drastic changes. Whilst we all deal with the lockdown and our mental health differently, there was a general consensus in the forum that during the initial lockdown members felt a degree of isolation and detachment. Rio shared how she felt devastated when we went into lockdown and how she “didn’t know what to do”. Rio’s whole life has been turned on its head; she could not see her friends and her college closed. Terry agreed that he struggled being cut off from his friends and not be able to work the job he loved. But, despite these initial difficulties and challenges, members are here today and thriving. So, what were their top tips for staying positive whilst staying inside?
David shared that to stay positive he likes to listen to live football results, especially from Wimbledon FC and going for walks. Kerry agreed that she stayed positive by doing the things she loved as well as starting new activities, this included setting up a new virtual football club that with her friends and also joining Generate’s Social Opportunities zoom calls. Terry also used the lockdown as an opportunity to get involved with some new activities, as well as joining some of Generate’s social zoom sessions he also got involved with Generate’s other projects such as Surviving Through Story (STS). Terry said he enjoyed using STS to write stories and share his own experiences on important issues. Rio shared how she also engaged in new hobbies to stay positive; she began vlogging on Youtube and writing her own poetry. Michelle also shared that she enjoy making the most of the little things, this can be from spending quality time with the people we are locked down with to getting things done, for example making a chore schedule to keep her house tidy.
As well as engaging in new hobbies, all members agreed a good way to stay positive is through staying connected to the people they care about. As Kerry stated, during a lockdown it is “more important than ever to keep in contact with friends and family”. The lockdown has been testing for us all, and when we are all confined to our homes it is natural and normal to feel down. The Generate Voices Forum lets people share their experiences and advice for staying positive during tough times. No members are ever expected to share their experiences if they chose not to, but each person does. Mental health is such an important part to life, yet it is very much hidden from public. The members enjoyed sharing their tips to stay positive and to think about how far we’ve all come in the last year.
If you have enjoyed this week’s topic and want to use your voice to make a change; then please join us for our next meeting! We have meetings every Thursday from 17:30 – 18:30 on Zoom. Contact Tony or Philippa for more details.