Darwen based self care and wellbeing centre, Serenity Self Care, are offering free support for keyworkers and people bereaved by Coronavirus living/working in Blackburn with Darwen. The support is being funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and provides a much needed lifeline for those directly affected by the pandemic.
Serenity Self Care began in 2017, and is based at Holker House on Railway Road, above Darwen Heritage Centre. Serenity’s therapists offer a comprehensive range of self care and wellbeing services, including counselling, hypnotherapy, workshops, holistic therapy and more. The centre provides a vital service – it’s been reported that one in four adults in the UK experience mental illness, and Gina Chelton, Counsellor and Clinical Supervisor at Serenity, believes that normalising conversations around mental health is crucial to our society.
The stresses and demands of modern life have never been clearer than during the present pandemic that we are navigating. Unsurprisingly, almost seven in ten adults in the UK have said they feel worried about the effect that Coronavirus is having on their life, and an analysis by the Centre for Mental Health predicts that around half a million more people in Great Britain will experience a mental health difficulty due to Coronavirus, particularly those who have been bereaved, and those on the “front line”. The free support that Serenity are offering, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, is helping to respond to this practically, and is an accessible and convenient way for people in Blackburn with Darwen to receive assistance during this unique time.
Due to the pandemic, Gina told us how Serenity has altered the way they provide sessions to clients, by offering telephone and video call appointments. Although different to the face to face sessions they are used to, the “virtual” appointments have allowed Serenity to be more flexible for those seeking support, meaning more keyworkers who often work long and unsociable hours have been able to access the service. As this truly is an unprecedented time that none of us could fully prepare for, Gina and her fellow therapists underwent specialist training to prepare for the support sessions and to ensure those seeking help would receive the best service possible.
During our phone call, Gina emphasised the feeling of uncertainty that many of us have experienced over the last few months, and how these feelings are felt by us all, not just those directly affected by the pandemic. Having open and honest conversations about our mental health, wellbeing and emotions can help us to accept and understand our feelings, and consequently cope with them better. Gina went on to say how it’s important for us all to acknowledge the impact that the Coronavirus pandemic will have on people’s mental health, especially as we now navigate out of lockdown, and that this impact will be different for everyone. For some it may have even had a positive impact. But if someone’s thoughts, feelings and emotions are different than your own, it’s okay – nobody is right or wrong. The key message is to try not to judge or compare how ourselves and our friends and family are dealing with the current situation, and to have open conversations with our loved ones about our feelings.
If you’re a keyworker living and working in Blackburn with Darwen, or have been bereaved by COVID and live in BwD and are interested in free support, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. (Please note, the support is only available while Serenity Self Care have funding, and is for a limited amount of people.) You can follow Serenity on Facebook here.