Hello, my name is Nigel and my normal daytime job is Involvement and Experience Lead for Forensic services. I am sure as you can imagine with the current COVID-19, emergency services are having to adapt.
I am a service user myself, and for many years, I have lived alone. For me, it’s not a problem, but as we see the advice for all of us to stay at home, it is worth thinking about those service users who also live alone, and not being able to go out as normal could be a big challenge for them. Our volunteers are also on my mind, as many are services users and part of their normal week would be volunteering around the Trust. I used to volunteer for the Trust before I worked for it, and for me personally it gave me a purpose and helped me get back to work. I would think that many of our volunteers will be finding it hard not being able to get out there and helping the Trust in such a positive way, which of course helps them and that purpose I talked about.
Working from home is very different for me and our team while we wait to see where we might be redeployed to help the Trust. You might think there is not much to do, but I can tell you I have been amazed how much we are doing. We have also got more technology to help us, we have something called Microsoft Teams which means our team can audio call and video call each other individually and as a team. It is exciting to see what the plans are for Volunteering and Involvement when we get back to some kind of normality and our team have 4 workstreams looking into this.
I think my point is we are still working, in a different way yes, but being very productive and for me personally, it helps me focus and have purpose.
I am very mindful there are services users out there living alone, and I would suggest trying to get some kind of routine and also if possible take that walk and get some fresh air, my own mental health is much better when I have been out for a short walk with my dog. Of course, in the Forensic Hospitals our Patients can not just get up and go out so I am mindful about them. It is also worth noting that the Staff who work with these Patients are doing a fantastic job, not just keeping them safe but doing all they can to try and make the day meaningful and purposeful with activities.
I would like to end this by saying our team are trying to man the phones and be available, we also have a messaging service on the phone if we are on lunch, for example, where anyone can call if needed.
Ok everyone, take good care and be safe. Remember we all stand together and you know where we are.