Helping the emotional wellbeing of military families during COVID-19
Sheffield Mind isn’t the only charity to be affected by COVID-19 but has been able to maintain and even increase its support to military families during lockdown. Keeping Families In Mind Coordinator Samantha Mulholland tells unLTD how they adapted
Sheffield Mind’s Keeping Families in Mind service, funded by the Armed Forces Covenant fund trust, provides counselling and peer support groups to military families in South Yorkshire.
The local mental health charity offers therapies to parents, siblings, partners and other family members over the age of 18, who have been affected by their relative serving in the armed forces. They also provide peer support groups for military families throughout South Yorkshire. The groups give people the opportunity to meet and create relationships with others who may be experiencing similar life experiences and even learn a new skill.
However, due to lockdown Sheffield Mind had to halt face-to-face therapy and postpone peer support groups. Despite that, the Keeping Families in Mind team were able to offer alternative support and increase their offer of mental health support. Therapists were able to quickly convert to offering therapy via telephone and Zoom and their peer support groups online to the group’s Facebook page.
Additionally, we were able to expand our offer of support with additional funding from the Armed Forces covenant. We are now able to support families of veterans as well as families of currently serving personnel with counselling via telephone and Zoom and will convert back to face-to-face therapies when appropriate. This funding also extended the service for an additional two years.
Despite this great expansion, we found some families were unable to focus on themselves during therapy as they were being impacted by COVID-19 and the impact it has had on veterans themselves. In response to this, Sheffield Mind has secured additional funding to provide online counselling for the next five months to veterans to help them cope with the mental health impacts. This will allow veterans to receive support during COVID-19 and, in turn, support families.
Keeping Families in Mind has provided mental health support to military families for the last two years and has seen an increased need for this support for families and veterans, especially during COVID-19. Our trained counsellors are able to respond quickly, to offer support and a safe space to talk things through, so that family life isn’t even more disrupted.
Sheffield Mind has over 40 years’ experience of delivering support services to people in the city with mental health issues. Amongst the other services provided by the charity are weekly peer support groups, a support and recovery service providing practical and emotional support to people in their homes, an extensive training programme, information, advice and support.
If you are an Armed Forces family member or veteran living in South Yorkshire and would like counselling or if you have any questions please contact Samantha on 0114 258 4489 or email@example.com.
Keeping Families in Mind launched in July 2018 and full details of the service are available on the Sheffield Mind website: www.sheffieldmind.co.uk