"We will never have this time together again"

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mental health services

The challenge with this new way of working has been the interruptions from children on calls - and revisiting my maths knowledge to help my eldest!

I’m Lynsey, the Service Lead for Mental Health Support across Sussex. 

Since the pandemic and lockdown, we have had to completely change the way we work and develop new systems to ensure we are doing this in a safe way. 

My role is now completely home-based, which means I am not travelling to the services in my department and meeting staff or stakeholders face-to-face. All meetings including supervisions are conducted via Zoom.

Our services have done an incredible job in maintaining delivery of support for the clients. All the services were face-to-face and they have switched to phone support. There has been amazing work behind the scenes to offer online groups, workshops, and courses. All staff and clients have adapted to working with new technology to ensure that the support is as available as it can be in this time. 

Working from home has been a big adjustment. Ensuring that I have a routine and regular contact with staff and my own manager is important. Initially I had very poor internet connection and couldn’t attend external meetings with commissioners, stakeholders and staff. 

I have two young boys, one is preschool age which has been a challenge with home schooling. My husband is working from home full-time as well. The children have adjusted well to the situation and we ensure that we don’t have too many meetings at the same time as each other so we are available to support them. My youngest has made many appearances on Zoom! My favourite one was on a partnership board meeting and he presented himself in a swimsuit, bobble hat, and head-to-toe in sun cream and told everyone he was off to the beach! 

The challenge with this new way of working has been the interruptions from children on calls - and revisiting my maths knowledge to help my eldest! However many people are in the same situation and we all understand the needs of families working in this way. 

I make sure that we all go for a walk when we have finished work for the day so there feels like there is a separation from work and home life. 

As the weeks go on, the daily schedule has slipped a little bit. I go out for a run every morning and sometimes I pick my eldest up who runs the last 2km with me. We have a task list of work each morning and we do PE with Joe wicks (not always at 9am, one day we did it at 7pm), a lot of art, reading, and a bit of maths. My youngest thinks watching the CBeebies app is work! The afternoon is free time which normal means they play football and have some time on their iPads. 

At times when I am juggling work and childcare it is hard, but we are all together and safe. We will never have this time together again. I’m overwhelmed by how well the services at Southdown have adapted and the amount of contact that has been maintained with clients during the time. I’m proud of the teams for adapting so quickly whilst managing their own home situations. 

My tips for people in a similar situation is to take breaks, don’t feeling guilty if your child needs some time or just wants to sit with you. We always try to sit down and eat lunch together and make a plan for our evening walk - or what position I’m playing in football! We’ve all become teachers, hairdressers, football team mates to name a few and as my eldest said, “This is normal now and it’s not forever.”

 

To support people to get well, stay well and prevent crisis, we provide a range of mental health services across Sussex. Our services are holistic, person-centred and recovery-focused.