Laura Whitehouse, Autism and Asperger’s Employment Advisor, at Cambridgeshire Employment Service, talks about how a few kind moments can transform virtual service delivery.
The Covid-19 virus and current lockdown has meant that many of us have had to adapt to a new way of working and connecting with others. This Mental Health Awareness Week find out how our employment services have been continuing to offer support and kindness in a new, more virtual, world.
Before the lockdown, we would meet with the people face to face in our offices and at outreach locations. In these meetings we would help write CVs, complete application forms and give careers advice. We would help people prepare for employer meetings and discuss returns to work.
Then the Covid-19 lockdown hit us and suddenly we were not able to see those we support anymore. We were working remotely form our homes and we thought work would be quieter. However, we were still able to run our service and support those in need. We changed our face to face appointments to telephone calls allowing us to continue to work in a person-centred way.
“By adapting we could continue to help and offer advice on how to manage their mental health.”
At the start of the lockdown, we worked as a team to create a leaflet for service users with guidance on coping with the situation. It offered advice on staying connected, managing your mental health, learning new skills and how we can support them. We also included some signposting options. We have also been encouraging those we support to use the online support community Big White Wall and to connect with their own community.
By adapting we could continue to help and offer advice on how to manage their mental health. We use video conferencing software to support individuals with employer meetings and general guidance sessions. We have been supporting people by connecting with them others in similar situations We have a quiz over Zoom at the end of the week for a little fun. Other times we’ve had Zoom breakfasts and choir rehearsals. We are encouraging people to call their friends and family to stay in touch if they struggle with video calls.
As an employment service we have been able to still work and support those accessing our service. As well as remaining connected as a team through the social interactions on the phone or video conferencing and allowing us to have fun at this time. Stay well, Stay safe.