Category Archives: News

How Covid-19 affects mental health during lockdown

Having been in lockdown for just over a month in the UK has had an effect on our health.

Being quarantined at home gives many positive traits such as time to relax and focus on ourselves. However, all this free time can start to affect one’s mental well-being no matter the age.

For some individuals, quarantine is an opportunity to bring families closer, however, for some living alone can be a challenge. Having that form of interaction and knowing that there is someone physically there, gives a sense of relief.

For those isolating alone the only form of communication is through social media or a stroll to your local grocery store.

What about the elderly?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the government have regulated that people over the age of 65 are at high risk of illness from the Coronavirus and are advised to seek isolation through this lockdown.

As the elderly are at most vulnerable due to this outbreak, staying indoors means no contact with family, friends and neighbours. This can gradually develop mental health issues such as depression and anxiousness.

Photo by Matthias Zomer on Pexels.com

Interviewing Winifred Curtis, aged 89 on living alone in lockdown.

How does it feel to isolate alone?

How can isolation differ for someone who is used to living alone?

Curtis explains, that being elderly and living alone during lockdown can be tough at times, as there is no one to communicate with. Although people are just a call away, she misses psychical interaction. This pandemic has had an increasing effect on her day to day life. As she is used to living alone, she feels restricted. She exclaims that the only form of communication is through her TV.

Stay Connected

Communication is a key in surviving the lockdown. Staying connected with your loved ones will make a drastic change to their day, especially for people isolating alone. For the majority, a little phone call goes a long way. If you feel low, stressed or anxious reach out to a friend, in times like this support is needed.

Helplines

Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

If you are in a need to speak to someone who is not aware of your mental well-being the use of helplines and listening services are a good way to communicate your feelings.

Samaritans – Support for distress and despair.

Call 116 123 or email jo@samartains.org


https://www.samaritans.org/

The Mix – Support for under 25s.

Call 0808 808 4994


https://www.themix.org.uk/

Anxiety UK – Support for individuals that are diagnosed with anxiety.

Call 03444 775 774

www.anxietyuk.org.uk

SANE – Emotional support, guidance and information for people affected by mental illness.

Call 0300 304 7000

www.sane.org.uk/support

Our mental health is important.

(Image source: Photo by Polina Zimmerman on Pexels.com)

LIVE from lockdown

Has social distancing left you stuck inside feeling all types of lonely and melancholy? Well Instagram is looking like your best escape.

Mental health experts and many others have shamed Instagram in the past; describing it as a relentless emphasis on promoting ‘perfect’ lifestyles and the cause of low self-esteem issues.

However, in the case of entertainment during these stir-crazy times, its proven to be a sort of savour.

Everyone will be spending more time on social media than usual, as there’s nothing better to do. But celebrities and influencers are cooped up in their homes just like the rest of us.

To save their own sanity and provide their followers with some sort of entertainment, many have taken to Instagram LIVE to provide us with a much-needed laugh.

Singer Tory Lanez has remained active on his LIVE since coming out of prison.

On the 1st of April, he and Drake broke the record for the most Instagram LIVE viewers. The LIVE had over 300 thousand viewers.

The 27 year old singer was banned later that month from hosting Instagram LIVE’s after a twerking performance incorporated inappropriate antics with a sex toy.

On a lighter note, yesterday Tom Holland made a Marvel quiz via his Instagram LIVE.

The Spiderman star, 23, was joined by his brother, Harry, 21, and their family friend Harrison Osterfield, 23, which was hosted by his parents’ charity, The Brothers Trust.

The actor left his fans hysterical as he didn’t realise as he read the questions off of paper cards, the answers were revealed to his live viewers on the back.

He continued to do so even after his brother Harry rushed in and warned him previously.

View this post on Instagram

Enjoy!

A post shared by Tom Holland (@tomholland2013) on

Other influencers have taken a more serious approach with their lives. Such as content creator Nia the Light, who has consistently been on her Instagram LIVE with something different each day.

Actively putting content out in series on her page, such as #NiaTalkShow where she’ll collaborate with Influencers with similar platforms to her own.

Her LIVE’s usually consist of talks, general advice, hair care and demonstrations of at home exercises.

At the request of her audience, Nia also started a series called #TravelWithNia. Within this series she posts holiday trips she’s taken thought the years on her Instagram story.

Later saving them to her highlights, making them available for later viewing.

(image source: George Tinari of Iphone hacks)

How South Korea’s COVID-19 exit strategy is proving to be efficient

South Korea’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) reported no new domestic Coronavirus cases for the first time since February.

Out of the total 10,765 cases recorded, four new imported infections were reported – all of which were tested and tracked in the airport. Overall, 1,065 were imported cases. Among these cases, 9,059 have been discharged with a total of 247 deaths so far.

The health authorities also revealed that no local transmission of the infection occurred during the parliamentary election this month – where strict safety measures were in place for voters.

So, what makes South Korea’s COVID-19 exit strategy more efficient?

Watch our video to find out how the nation has tackled the pandemic.

Domestic abuse, the other deadly killer

The prospect of isolation for several months is daunting, but abuse support workers say isolation with an abuser is like a “pressure cooker”.

As Covid-19 works its way through the UK and the rest of the world it would seem that the measures put in place by governments are the right thing to do to protect people’s health. For some health is the least of their concern. Experts have already warned that the isolation instructions set out by the government are likely to cause an increase in domestic abuse cases. Read more

Locked in for your protection, but just how safe are you?

Lockdown measures have been introduced over recent weeks to slow down the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19), these same measures are putting one group more at risk.

Men, women and children who live with abusers have no way of escape from their abusers during quarantine. Activists from Brazil, Germany, Italy and China are already seeing a rise in abuse. Read more

COVID-19: The urgency to ‘flatten the curve’

What do we mean by ‘flatten the curve’?

When dealing with a pandemic like COVID-19, the ultimate goal is to stop the overall spread of the virus. In order to do so, the slowing down of the spread is a critical phase in achieving this. Hence, the social distancing measures in place across the world.

To ‘flatten the curve’ means to reduce the growth in the number of cases – giving medical professionals, institutional bodies and government officials more time to prepare and respond. As well as this, it accommodates for effective planning in a stressful situation as such.

For hospitals to function – doctors must be readily available to treat patients. However, with an influx of patients they must quickly adapt to the escalation of cases. Slowing the spread of COVID-19 cases through measures such as social distancing will not only save lives but ensure that we continue to progress ahead.

What do the curves on the graph represent?

‘Flatten the curve’

The curves represent the number of cases and how they are increasing/decreasing over time. A steep, higher curve signifies that cases are increasing fast. The lower curve indicates that cases are emerging slower, and that the virus is not spreading as faster.

By keeping the curve low, it allows for added time and preparation in controlling the spread of the virus.

How will social distancing determine the outcome of this pandemic?

The spread of the virus depends on how contagious it is, who is more vulnerable to it and how fast it impacts our immune systems. According to the World Health Organisations (WHO) COVID-19 is an ‘infectious disease’ primarily spreads through ‘droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose’ when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Seasonal flu has a lower fatality rate because people have been vaccinated against the virus or developed immunity. Coronavirus, on the other hand, does not have a vaccine and is known to have vigorous symptoms. As a result, people are more vulnerable to it.

Social distancing measures such as self-isolation and quarantine will decrease chances of transmission and consequently the spread of the virus.

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine estimated that prior to the lockdown – one positive person would infect 2.6 other people. However, after social distancing measures were implemented – the figure reduced to 0.62. This means that the virus is being detained and should eventually burn out given the measures in place are strictly followed.

How should we go about this situation as individuals?

NHS guideline

In these uncertain times, it is natural to be overcome with anxiousness and self-awareness. Essential workers, doctors and patients are battling a wide-scale pandemic that is challenging day-to-day routines. As individuals of society, we have the duty to protect the most vulnerable of people amid this pandemic. By staying home, maintaining our hygiene and social distancing – we can encourage a safer, less disastrous outcome.

Why does toilet paper take so long to get to grocery stores?

Since the coronavirus ramped up and became a pandemic one essential hygiene product is flying off the shelves in grocery stores all over the world: toilet paper.  But why does it take so long to restock? 

Toilet paper can be made by recycled paper’s pulp or through tree pulp that is then dyed with chemicals to give it the white appearance.  The treated pulp is then sent to paper mills where it is converted into large sheets of paper and then cut into napkins, toilet paper, and paper towels in different sizes.  

Last year, the UK used around 1.25 million tonnes of hygiene paper of which over half were in the form of toilet paper, according to a statement by The Confederation of Paper Industries and The Paper Industry Technical Association.  

An unusually full stock of toilet paper sold 2 for 1 and limited to 4 single rolls per family. source: Natalia Jaramillo

Toilet paper mills, pre-pandemic, were already running 24 hours a day seven days a week and now with COVID-19 impacting worker’s schedules and increasing demand, the industry is having a tough time catching up. 

Kimberly Clarke, producer of popular toilet paper brands such as Andrex and Cottonelle said in a statement: 

“We have plans in place to address the increased demand for our products to the extent possible, including accelerating the production of essential products and reallocating inventory to help. Our teams continue to monitor demand and we will make adjustments to our plans accordingly.” 

Kimberly Clarke’s plans to ramp up production of essential products like toilet paper means slowing production of non essential products all meanwhile implementing worker safety protocols that may slow down production.  

“Some of the additional measures include regular cleaning of work areas, shift rotations, distancing reminders where people queue, and temperature scans at entry points. We’re also encouraging our employees to stay at home if they feel unwell,” read a Kimberly Clarke statement for the company’s COVID-19 response. 

In order to get toilet paper into grocery store shelves,  trucks have to be packed at paper mills driven to grocery stores and then unpacked and restocked onto the shelves. 

“I asked when the next shipment of toilet paper was coming and the cashier said to come early morning on Saturday,” said Viviana Riveros, a grocery store customer. 

When she arrived at 9 am, one hour after opening, the store was sold out of its supply of toilet paper.  

Grocery store shelves where there should be toilet paper are left empty due to COVID-1. Source: Natalia Jaramillo

Another popular toilet paper maker Essity, who makes Cushelle, already increased net sales in 2019 by 10.6% and is now further increasing due to the pandemic response to panic buy. 

“As a leading global hygiene and health company, we are currently also doing our utmost to continue to manufacture and deliver essential products such as hand paper towels, soap and sanitizers, toilet paper, handkerchiefs and diapers to consumers and customers around the world,” said Magnus Groth, CEO and President of Essity. 

The shortage of toilet paper comes after the UK government issues statements advising people not to panic buy. 

Coronavirus fake news: how to spot it before you spread it

It seems as though misinformation about the dreaded coronavirus is in its own way contagious.

It’s easy to hit share or ‘retweet’ or to even send a quick factoid you read about the virus to someone else and the temptation is just as understandable but spreading this fake news doesn’t help anyone and only scares people even more.

Many of the people who share these hoaxes and false information don’t do it to mislead – they think they’re sharing some truly valuable information with their family and friends.

From checking sources to verifying accounts, here are a few steps you can take to spot fake news and verify information correctly before you decide to share it.

REMEMBER: If you see someone on social media posting something that isn’t true, be gentle and kind when informing them or pointing it out. Correcting information that is false can sometimes backfire. People are likely to be defensive when they’re challenged so always make sure you’re kind during this tense moment.

 

Video sources

 

Institutions face structural changes to support students amid the COVID-19 pandemic

As the UK government begins to up its efforts in impeding the growth of the COVID-19 pandemic, institutions have been forced to introduce structural changes.

Multiple universities have moved to online classes through means of digital platforms such as Blackboard and Canvas – sites prominently used among institutions across the UK.

Blackboard CEO Bill Ballhaus took to its official site with a notice, highlighting their plans to support institutions across the UK during the outbreak. He ensured that Blackboard will continue making online learning feasible for both staff as well as students.

According to the statement, the number of online users ‘has doubled every day’ and the platform is working diligently to keep up with this unprecedented surge.

To meet service user needs, Blackboard’s pro-active measures include activating ‘cross-functional response teams’ to ensure the functioning of the platform.

Universities have introduced responsive measures such as online libraries to make academic sources and books accessible to students.

Nottingham Trent University recently announced that it will waive accommodation fees for students who have the left the city during the nation-wide lockdown. Students who have vacated their residence provided by the university and are not returning will no longer be required to pay rent.

In a statement, the professor’s vice-chancellor Edward Peck said: “At every stage in this national crisis Nottingham Trent University has been committed to following Government and PHE advice whilst ensuring that the interests of our students are always paramount in every decision that we take.”

“We understand that many of our students rent from private third-party providers, both purpose-built student accommodation and houses in multiple occupation. NTU is not able to make a unilateral decision on behalf of our students regarding accommodation fees charged by these providers.”

PhD and master’s students have also signed an open letter urging research councils to publish a plan outlining the additional financial support required for postgraduate students.

Due to fieldwork at halt and university labs and libraries being shut, many are unable to complete their research projects.

March is a typically active period of the academic year – with lecture theatres packed and assignment deadlines approaching. This year, there is an unprecedented silence.

Users took to social media sites expressing that they are ‘mentally tapped out’ and ‘paralysed’ from the on-going situation.  

A PhD student at the University of Westminster stated that: “The assumption to go about academic responsibilities in one’s home has been readily taken advantage of. For many, staying at home brings forth added care responsibilities.”

“At present, many of us are taking on this additional workload to help us survive in the face of a virus that knows no boundaries. If these changes that are being introduced are causing more stress to students, then perhaps it’s time to reorganise the education system.”

To learn more about the government response and information provided by universities regarding COVID-19, visit this webpage.

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