Psycho Social Support
Right now, it’s easy to feel isolated, lonely, scared, and frustrated. You’re likely asking, “When’s all this Coronavirus stuff going to end?” “When can I get back to the way things were just last month?” Right now, it feels like life is uncertain, but one thing is undeniable (whether we acknowledge it or not), the need for human connection – even in a world of self-isolation and quarantine. And here’s how different RCs are enabling connections and social linkages between people who are isolated.
Inspired by the actions of the Italian Red Cross implemented during the first weeks of the crisis, the French Red Cross has set up an exceptional solidarity concierge system: «Red Cross Chez Vous». Anyone confined to social isolation can call 7 days a week from 8am to 8pm on 09 70 28 30 00 to benefit from a warm and reassuring support from a professional psychological help; reliable information on the situation – the possibility of ordering basic necessities (food, hygiene and maintenance products, medicines that Red Cross volunteers will deliver to them safely the next day.
Australia offers a volunteer phonecall service called Telecross, which is a daily phone call from a volunteer to check on the wellbeing of those experiencing vulnerability, increasing our response with this to meet the needs of those vulnerable and in quarantine. This is implemented through technical systems that allow for telephone outreach to be conducted by Red Cross people working remotely.
And finally, not just limited to those isolated or vulnerable, the American RC recognising that even us as Red Crossers need the same social support, initiated Project Wellness where Red Crossers call other Red Crossers to see how they’re doing. This is a purely optional volunteer and employee activity for those working remotely to join in if so inclined. This activity to make calls may be conducted at one’s convenience; there’s no deadline.
The ask is simple. Receive a list of volunteers to call and say, “Hi, this is ____, and I just want to see how you’re doing”…and let the conversation take it from there. It’s like calling your Aunt Betty in another state. If you enjoy talking on the phone, this can break up the stretch of undetermined ‘at home’ days, and encourage team building and experience sharing.