Mental Health and recovery – lessons learned

Hilda Campbell, COPE Scotland

In her second guest blog for GCVS on mental health and pandemic recovery, Hilda Campbell from COPE Scotland talks about the need for people to have a sense of hope, for locality plans which help communities and families – for solutions and not more consultation or reports.  

We talk about resilience, the ability to bounce back after adversity. However, what we have learned recently is that resilience alone is not the answer.  For people and communities this hasn’t just been about bouncing back once, but again, and again, and again, and again…………….

Listening to people and communities has been at the core of COPE Scotland’s ethos since we began in 1991.  What became clear in that listening was the need for endurance and stamina, the need to support that and to keep going against the odds, with hope that tomorrow can be an improvement on today.  It was clear that it was important to believe there was a future where people and their families could thrive, and not simply survive.

Here at COPE, we have long recognised that in the sea of life there can be challenges, sometimes storms.  This is the premise of our video message to the world.  We recognised more was needed though to help people recognise that feeling overwhelmed and anxious at times is natural given the circumstances.

The current circumstances we inhabit leave many people feeling overwhelmed, including workers in the services which are there to support people.

We designed a Poster/Infographic which we hope helps normalise the feelings of being overwhelmed when we face challenges; the anchors which can help us stay the course, and the conditions which can help maintain those anchors. Contact admin@cope-scotland.org for a copy.

Challenges on the sea of life

If we look at the challenges facing people just now, many are external.  People have little control over them and can only try and find ways to overcome, or adapt.  For example:

  • Access to services and assessments including for their children
  • Increased caring responsibilities
  • Insecure employment/redundancy
  • Lack of nearby services and supports
  • Not feeling safe
  • Discrimination
  • Poor working conditions
  • Money worries
  • And so much more……………..

People and communities are already doing what they can to adapt; They cannot do it alone.

For recovery to happen in a way which has meaning for everyone, we need everyone working together to find solutions. This includes business as well as law makers, programme designers, statutory and third sector bodies, community leaders.

Core to this, people need a sense of hope; to share that hope needs a common vision. We need locality plans, led by local needs and people,  involving all stakeholders in implementation. We know the issues – we don’t need more consultation and reports.  We need to move to action and collaboration; co-design and production.

And hope is important.

These are some of the hopes that people have shared with us. This is what matters to them:

  • Start a new job
  • End of all foodbanks
  • Get out of the rut I’m in
  • Be happy and healthy
  • Peace all around
  • To stop smoking
  • Get a better job
  • To get back on my feet and have a good year
  • Not to be so ill
  • To be mentally stable and be in a job
  • To be on my feet next year and have a great year
  • To be better off than I am now
  • To be drug free
  • Never to gamble again
  • To have more self-worth

These are hopes which collectively, we can do something to help make real.

We know the challenges, we all only have so much energy. Let us invest it where we can make a difference. Now is the time to find solutions and rekindle the hope that for many people, the future is a place where they can be back on their feet – where they are thriving, and not just surviving.


Hilda Campbell, COPE Scotland
www.cope-scotland.org Follow @COPEScotland

 

Read more from Hilda Campbell in her earlier blog ‘COVID Recovery – Why Networks Matter More Than Ever’

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