Challenging times require a proactive approach to looking after our communities.

We are in unprecedented times and facing uncertainty as the Coronavirus pandemic continues to affect our daily lives. We want to assure you that Common Unity is fully committed to the safety and health of our communities.

During this period we all need to be there for each other even more so than usual which is somewhat ironic as the lockdown means that for many people they are finding the experience of life with little or no contact a real challenge to cope with.

But there are opportunities especially through the links we have online.

For overall Health & Wellbeing service information there is The Waiting Room (TWR) . Although many of the services are struggling regarding staffing numbers available and the amount of support they can practically put in place they are still providing as much support as they can personally, online, via text and the telephone. 

TWR also provides you with links to Birmingham and Solihull’s local NHS website which gives advice to the public around this challenge as well as links to all the national websites provided by the NHS and the Government. TWR also provides you with directories to all GP surgeries across Birmingham and Solihull.

We are also conscious that even after all of this is over the longer term impact and issue of loss will remain with many of us for years to come so TWR has also included within its listed services access to the national Cruse Bereavement website which provides crucial advice as to how best be supported through these difficult times.

Another key thing to look after is our own wellbeing – The NHS backed Every Mind Matters website provides loads of tips to improve your mental wellbeing. Looking after yourself is priority during these challenging times, after all, we need to be as well as we can so we can continue to help and support those around us that we love. We have added this link to TWR but you can also read it HERE

During this period of lockdown there are also rising concerns in respect of there being an increased risk of domestic abuse. We have added the Governments advice and guidance page to TWR but there are a number of superb services in Birmingham and Solihull that support people at risk of, or experiencing domestic abuse including RSVP and Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid. There are also a range of Helplines listed in TWR because as we all know, it’s good to talk. Organisations include Samaritans, Calm and for those under 25, The Mix helpline. 

We also have listed Foodbanks in Birmingham and Solihull as currently there are many who are finding it increasingly hard to make ends meet as well as the National Debtline link that many community members might find useful which includes the Webchat option.

Don’t forget, there are loads of other areas including Mental Health, Virtual Support, Therapeutic Support and more besides that you can tap into from home.

If there are any services that you are aware of that have recently popped up to support Birmingham and Solihull citizens and it is not on TWR, please do not hesitate in letting us know either by clicking on ‘add a service’ at TWR or emailing us directly at [email protected].

Common Unity and the Waiting Room team will be highlighting other relevant and useful services over the coming weeks that may be able to support you, your family and friends. In the meantime, look after your wellbeing and please keep yourself safe.

Best Caron x

TWR Resource Key – A Road To Somewhere

It’s a clever way of linking people with local support with the least amount of stress, hassle or disappointment

Back in the 80’s there was a song called “Road To Nowhere” – pretty good as well – but when I think of online resource directories, or worse still, paper directories for health and social care services, they are often just like this song. They are, too often, a Road To Nowhere. The telephone numbers are often wrong or discontinued; the organisation you are searching for has either moved, closed or changed the services they provide; the website links don’t work or the pages you are looking for don’t exist anymore – so we designed The Waiting Room in Birmingham (known as TWR) and the TWR Resource Key.

It’s a clever way of linking people with local support with the least amount of stress, hassle or disappointment – access to information is instant, information is current and making contact is do-able for both professionals and the public. In December of last year we started testing the TWR Resource Key with 25 GP Surgeries to see how it went down with their staff and their patients. The results are astounding and demand for TWR both in Birmingham and wider is growing fast with both Professionals and the public realising that access to local services can be up-to-date and are quite literally at their finger-tips.

Please check out our Pilot Overview document by clicking on TWR below and tell us what you think of it.

We think it’s a road to somewhere.

 

So let’s face the facts as we know them….

3 out of every 4 deaths by suicide in England are by men.

Men are struggling. They find it hard to engage with existent mainstream health and social care services and often would prefer to suffer in silence than seek help. So it stands to reason, there is a need to ensure that where services make a greater impact through being man focussed in respect of suicide prevention, then such preventative services and awareness raising opportunities should be developed; and they are; Targeted approaches to preventing suicide amongst men are hot on the agenda across Health and Social Care as rightly they should be…right? But let’s look again because there is something being missed here… or not being highlighted…

If we look at the most recent suicide data for England supplied in September 2016, with a little bit of investigation, there appears to be a clear yet under-stated fact – the number of women attempting and dying by suicide in England is increasing and nobody seems to be really saying why that might be or what can be done, but it is there – in your face.

So what’s going on?

There are a number of potential reasons why this shift may be occurring, but whilst the time passes for the ‘facts’ to be outed further, we need action and maybe there is a simple way forward for this action. Whilst I accept that there is a need for targeted approaches in respect of suicide prevention for specific groups (such as ManMade), the fact that suicide knows no boundaries in respect of who it affects means that suicide prevention should hold no boundaries as to who engages with it.

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Suicide is not an illness and it is not only people with a mental health need that are at risk; It’s not about age, class, gender or sex – but it is about crisis, it is about hopelessness and the person at risk not feeling able to find a way out of the situation other than by suicide. Suicide behaviour effects all walks of life and has a huge negative ripple effect across communities and it is only through a concerted effort across all sectors of our communities and all professions at all levels that we can start to make some headway in reducing the number of people that die by suicide.

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide please call Samaritans free on 116 123

If you live in the Birmingham area and want to know what local support services are out there then why not check out The Urbrum Waiting Room