M&D Care normally organises a big celebration for Mental Health Awareness Week, but not this year sadly.
That’s not to say that celebrations are on hold, or that mental health awareness isn’t a priority for us. Now more than ever, these topics are at the forefront of our thoughts.
We were to delighted to recruit our 300th employee recently. We pride ourselves on being part of our wonderful community here in Carmarthenshire, and further afield in South West Wales. The kindness and support we have received from businesses, groups and individuals in our local area has been phenomenal and we are genuinely touched by the dedication and selflessness of our own staff; the people we support and their families; and the partners we work with from local authorities and health boards across the region.
These are unprecedented times, and the physical and mental well-being of everyone involved with M&D Care is vitally important. Our staff have 24/7 access to our online Hub which details useful resources and contains mental health care packs with details of how to look after your mental and physical health and how to access support in a crisis. We also have a company health scheme that provides support for employees and their families and we took steps to ensure that no one who was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic would be left financially struggling. The 24 hour hub also has access to a sessional trained counsellor, with 24 hour on call GP’s.
Looking after your mental health and the importance of kindness are messages we have been spreading for a while at M&D Care. Back in September, Okan and Leanne from our domiciliary care team gave a talk to the pupils and staff at Oakleigh House School. It was about the importance of always being kind to others, and the positive effect this can have on a person’s well-being. They read our Brucey Bear story book that highlights the importance of looking out for others, and that it’s “okay to not feel okay – let’s talk about it”. M&D Care hope to visit more schools in the future when it is safe to do so. We’d like to share this message and encourage people to talk to each other about how they are feeling.
The mental health foundation have published a guide for this Awareness Week. It explains the importance of kindness.
So what are the benefits of kindness?
Helping others feels good
It creates a sense of belonging and reduces isolation
It helps keep things in perspective
It helps to make the world a happier place – one act of kindness can often lead to more!
The more you do for others, the more you do for yourself
Everyday we hear tales of kindness within our services. One of our team members has been supporting someone who had symptoms of coronavirus. They volunteered to do this even though they had their own caring responsibilities and needed to be flexible in changing their set shift pattern so they could provide continuity of support to the person who was unwell. They delivered support in a consistent and planned way, always adhering to health and safety procedures and following risk assessments. This ensured that everyone was kept as safe as possible and the person’s very complex emotional and physical needs were cared for and they didn’t experience additional distress because of a change in routine.
The people that we are proud to support have shown so much kindness and consideration towards their staff. Some have baked cakes, or created artwork, or clapped loudly for the teams that are supporting them. We are moved by their resilience and compassion. We appreciate their patience and understanding during these times where routines have been changed, activities have been rearranged or done differently, and staff have needed to keep their distance.
We also need to be kind to ourselves.
Prioritise some “me” time throughout the day. If you can’t take half an hour or longer in one go then make sure you have regular moments where you can reflect on your own needs.
If the news or social media is fuelling your anxieties or making you grumpy, then have a break for a day, a week or longer.
Do something you enjoy, like listening to a favourite song or dancing in your kitchen.
Spend some time in nature, which is good for our mental health .
Pause for a moment and just notice what you can hear, see, smell and touch. Do an activity mindfully so that you engage fully in whatever it is you are doing at that moment, rather than thinking about the future or worrying about the past.
We have benefited from the kindness of our community.
Yesterday we received a huge donation of cloth face coverings and uniform bags from Judith Tucker and her gang. Judith is a retired healthcare worker and wanted to give something back, were blown away by her generosity – thank you Judith and co.
We’ve received some tasty meals from Dominos pizza and Ocean Blue fish bar.
Our supply of PPE has been enhanced by kind donations of face shields from Dwr y felin comprehensive school; Christopher Cundy and Amman Valley Maker Space have made visors; and In The Welsh Wind have continued to supply us with hand sanitiser. Also, Wyedean comprehensive School in Gloucester sixth form for making face visors for our staff teams.
M&D Care are proud to part of a kind community and we’d like to extend our thanks to everyone we support, everyone who works with us and all members of our community.