While we are all facing challenges at home because of the coronavirus, for some of you things are even more difficult right now. You may for example be isolating on medical grounds, which means you can no longer go and collect medicine or attend appointments that are vital for your health.
We want to help you meet these challenges by making sure you’re aware of all the support available to you, or someone you know who finds themselves in this situation.
Help us spread the word
Even if these issues don’t affect you personally, it’s likely someone in your local community is facing challenges like those we’re describing here. Please have a think about anyone who might benefit from this advice and share it with them. This might be particularly relevant for people you know over 70-years-old. A simple phone call can go a long way.
If you are reading this on someone else’s behalf and they need help to register for any of the services we’ve listed below – perhaps due to lack of digital skills or internet access – please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we will see how we can support them.
Help getting medicine
If you are classed as “extremely vulnerable to coronavirus” you can register here for free deliveries of any prescriptions and other medicines to your home. If you are not able to register for this support, contact your local pharmacy as most are offering free deliveries themselves.
You may also be able to call upon local voluntary groups to help deliver medicine and other essentials. You can find your local group here.
Transport to and from hospital
The NHS has put together a network of volunteer responders to help vulnerable people across the country. This is available to you only if you have received a letter from the NHS telling you to self-isolate because of a pre-existing health condition. These responders can deliver your medicine if you cannot collect it and drive you to and from hospital if you have essential appointments.
Mental health support and therapies
The current restrictions we face are taking a mental toll on all of us. Social isolation is a major issue for many of us and we will publish more detailed information about how to combat that shortly.
If you are unable to leave your home at all and/or have pre-existing challenges with mental health, it may all start to feel unbearable.
But you are not alone. There are a number of support organisations set up to help people facing these exact challenges. Here are a few:
The Samaritans – 0330 094 5717 or freephone 116 123 – open 24 hours a day, seven days a week
The Samaritans accept calls at any time of day or night and you can ring them about any mental health concern – big or small. People commonly think this support line is only for people considering suicide but that isn’t the case. If in doubt, even if you think your problem isn’t a big deal, give them a call and they will be happy to help you - that’s what they are there for. They also offer excellent advice to follow if you are worried about someone else’s mental health.
The Listening Place – 020 3906 7676 – 9am to 9pm, seven days a week
The Listening Place offers phone support for people who do not feel their life is worth living. If you want a warm, non-judgemental environment to discuss your feelings this is a great option.
The NHS Single Point of Access Line - 0800 0234 650 – open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This line is available to residents in London boroughs of: Brent, Harrow, Hillingdon, Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster, and also Milton Keynes (out of hours).
You can call this line if you’re facing a mental health crisis and need to speak to someone urgently. You will be referred to a secondary mental health team who will assess your case and offer any support you need.
One very troubling aspect of people being forced to stay in their homes for longer is that cases of domestic abuse have increased significantly. Domestic abuse can be anything from physical violence, emotional abuse or withholding finances to exercise control over a partner.
If you have been the victim of domestic abuse, help is out there. There are national helplines available that are completely confidential to remove you from a situation where you are in danger.
Our dedicated support service ADAS, available for victims of domestic in Oxfordshire and West Berkshire, is also open and ready to help you. Please don’t suffer in silence.
Stay in the know
We will keep this page updated with any new information we have. We have also published separate articles about accessing food, financial assistance, social isolation and other support if you are socially isolated. In the meantime, if you are worried about a friend, family member or someone in your community, please do share this information with them – especially if they cannot easily access information online. Thanks for your help.