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BASW joins academics and sector leaders call for COVID-19 Wellbeing Taskforce

COVID-19 represents a massive threat to health and wellbeing beyond the physical effects of the virus if caught.

Margaret Holloway, Emeritus Professor of Social Work, University of Hull and Editor for the British Journal of Social Work on the call for a Covid 19 wellbeing taskforce

 

Margaret Holloway, Emeritus Professor of Social Work, University of Hull and Editor for the British Journal of Social Work

As the front-line fight against coronavirus digs into massive efforts to increase levels of testing and secure personal protective equipment (PPE) where it is most needed, the focus most recently being on the huge army of social care workers employed in care homes and supporting vulnerable people at home, so the secondary impacts of social distancing and lock-down are becoming daily more apparent.

For most of us this is an inconvenience and causes sadness that we cannot enjoy contact with family and friends that we take for granted in the normal course of events.

For many service users it is much more, however. People suffering with mental health problems such as anxiety and depression or prone to paranoia and catastrophizing; those frail older people whose daily visit to the shops provides a rare opportunity for human contact; those with dementia or learning disability who struggle to cope with, let alone understand, why life is so changed; those who have no home in which to self-isolate or those whose home is not a safe place – these are all people for whom COVID-19 represents a massive threat to their health and wellbeing beyond the physical effects of the virus if caught. 

For some, lock-down means they cannot get the chemotherapy which represents their continuing hope and  family carers must live with the stress of isolation with a loved one at the end of life without friends and neighbours dropping in to  provide respite and comfort. 

Others are dying before their time, families unable to be with them in their final days and hours and denied the funeral and community of mourners which would have felt fitting and right.

As social workers, we take seriously our commitment to a whole person approach as well as care for each other, but the current circumstances challenge our capacity to respond, as proven supports and interventions may not be permissable.

Concerns to highlight the need to pool existing knowledge and resources in innovative ways lay behind a letter published in The Times newspaper to which Ruth Allen (BASW CEO) and Margaret Holloway (Editor, British Journal of Social Workers) are signatories [1].  

We hope that BASW members will feel able to promote and support this initiative and welcome your ideas.

Margaret Holloway, Emeritus Professor of Social Work, University of Hull and Editor for the British Journal of Social Work

 

[1] Coronavirus impact on nation’s mental health, Letter to The Times, 9 April, 2020, Margaret Holloway, Claire Henry et al www.thetimes.co.uk/letters

 

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