At a time with so much uncertainty for so many, we’ve compiled a list of useful links, ideas, articles and blogs that we hope are useful. If you have suggestions to add to this, please get in touch. Please note that the external resources we signpost to are not necessarily endorsements or recommendations.
People with M.E. are, as always, our priority. We are working to ensure adults, children, young people and families living with the illness are supported during this unprecedented time, and beyond. All our services remain open, and you can contact us about anything you are worried about. Please call 0117 927 9551 (10am to 4pm Monday to Friday) or email us to speak with a member of the team, or make a donation to help us reach even more people with M.E.
Our staff team and volunteers
Working from home, having closed our Keynsham office, our staff team continue to provide Action for M.E. services and support. We are hugely grateful to our volunteers, who continue to support our work from home.
Our website and social media
We are keeping our website up to date with the latest on Coronavirus and M.E., and sharing these updates on social media, specifically Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Please do use social media to share your thoughts, ideas and concerns with us, and we will do all we can to support you and others with M.E.
Booklets and factsheets
Given the Government measures asking everyone to stay at home, we are currently unable to send our resources by post; we will update here if this changes. You can always download our booklets and factsheets for free.
We have our spring issue scheduled to be published in early April, and the printing company we use has told us they are still able to do this. We will let our members know if this changes. The spring issue will include news and research updates, as well as information and support regarding the Coronavirus.
Funding our vital services
Now, more than ever, people with M.E. need support. With all our major fundraising events rightly postponed or cancelled to protect citizens and the NHS, we are facing an uncertain few months when it comes to donations. Our Board of Trustees and Chief Executive are working with the team to put plans in place to address this, so we can continue providing the vital support that makes a difference to so many. If you can help, please consider making a donation or joining us as a Supporting Member.
Freedom News has created a page that provides links to local mutual aid groups all over the UK. These groups serve as informal networks that share information about Covid-19 and help people to deal with the situation as a community.
A user on our forum has pointed out that it may be helpful to order a repeat prescription if necessary, due to the burden that Covid-19 is placing on the health service. Your surgery may allow for repeat prescriptions to be organised over email or by fast telephone appointment systems so you can get questions straight to your doctor. Due to the variance in how different surgeries are run, we recommend you check your GP’s website to review any changes on procedure. This can also help you to check if your pharmacy can deliver prescriptions.
With basic supplies unavailable in supermarkets and online deliveries largely booked up, people are understandably concerned about being able to buy what they need. Some supermarkets have prioritised certain opening hours for the elderly, vulnerable people, and NHS staff, with an Express and Star article (Monday 23 March) providing guidance on what has been implemented by each supermarket. Morrisons has devised a new Food Boxes initiative, which is designed to deliver essential items to your door.
There has been talk in the media of the army and volunteer community groups being utilised to deliver emergency food aid to vulnerable citizens. There is yet to be official confirmation of this but an article from The Guardian (Tuesday 24 March) suggests that this emergency aid could be implemented in the coming days.
The Mental Health Foundation has published a guide on looking after your mental health during social isolation. Please note that this is a guide for the general population and not all tips may be suitable for those affected by M.E., particularly those around exercise and sleep, and your need to carefully balance activity, energy and rest.
An Action for M.E. forum member has pointed out that you can currently access additional material on the Headspace meditation app for free. A lot of people find meditation apps like Headspace useful at times where they feel overwhelmed or just to remain calm day to day.
While it’s important to stay up to date with the news surrounding Covid-19, it’s also important to recognise that overload of stressful news regarding the virus can lead to anxiety for many. The Independent published an article (Monday 23 March) on how some people may be able to manage stress relating to the Coronavirus. This advice includes keeping a record of your worries; limiting your notifications on social media and news apps, instead choosing to update yourself at specific times of the day, and taking practical steps to reduce anxiety around your own vulnerability.
Young Minds wrote a post on 12 March offering advice on what to do if you're feeling anxious about Covid-19. This advice covers finding someone to talk to, learning the facts about the virus, avoiding overexposure to the news, finding ways to keep calm, and dealing with self-isolation.
Anna Freud have produced guidance (first published on March 17) on supporting young people's mental health during periods of disruption. This guidance includes a section aimed at young people, a section aimed at parents and carers, and a section for schools/colleges.
We should note that, in the face of the current circumstances, some helplines have been forced to limit their availability. Childline have, for now, limited their contact hours to between 9am and midnight. We'll continue to check on the availability of various services as the situation develops.
The Royal Mail remains open for business, but their website notes that there may be some delays. Royal Mail has a Coronavirus updates page that you can follow to stay up-to-date on their status, and an email sign-up for further alerts.
People with M.E. shared tips on our Facebook page about coping with isolation: please add to the comments there if you experience to share.
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