Covid-19 health and wellbeing

Vaccinations, testing and shielding

  • From 1 April 2021, people in England and Wales that were previously advised to shield (to stay at home where possible and take extra precautions to avoid contact, due to health conditions that make them clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus) no longer need to keep shielding. During the pandemic, 3.8 million people in England and 130,000 in Wales were told to shield for their own protection. Shielding measures included not visiting shops or pharmacies, entirely working from home, and not attending school. 

  • Bristol City Council has opened a new testing site in the city at 100 Temple Street, BS1 6AG. They have also upgraded the site shared with South Gloucestershire Council at BAWA Leisure Centre, BS34 7RG from a mobile testing unit to a walk-through local testing site. Further information is available on the Council website.

  • There are several new videos that challenge false information about coronavirus vaccines. Black and Asian celebrities such as Adil Ray, Meera Syal and Sean Fletcher recorded a video encouraging ethnic minorities to take the vaccine, and dispelling myths around vaccination. The BBC has also published videos explaining why coronavirus vaccines have been approved so quickly, and debunking myths around the contents and purpose of the vaccine.

  • BBC Asian Network has created coronavirus vaccine Q&A videos in five South Asian languages: Gujarati, Punjabi, Sylheti, Tamil and Urdu.  

Mental health

  • OTR Bristol are offering support for young people returning to education after the lockdown. Unlock some of their skills and techniques for improving mental health on 7 and 8 of April,
  • Our Frontline offers 24-hour one-to-one mental health support through phone calls or text messages to key workers in the pandemic - those working in healthcare, emergency services, social care, and any other key worker roles. The service is a partnership between Shout, Samaritans, Mind, Hospice UK, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Click on the link for text and phone instructions depending on which service you work for.
  • Mental health support for people in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire: call free on 0800 0126549. (Support is funded by the NHS and provided by Vita Health Group.)
  • Local social enterprise Unique Voice have published a free Stay At Home Activity Pack of safe, simple, educational activities for children to do at home.
  • Bristol's Public Health team have published guidance for Responding to Mental Health and Wellbeing Concerns which is likely to be of use for VCSE staff and volunteers. It comes with a related training course for delivery with your teams.
  • Bristol-based men's mental health organisation Talk Club is offering group meetings online. Talk Club aims to increase a sense of community, mental fitness and resilience by encouraging men to talk about their thoughts and feelings, and to end suicide.
  • Bristol Mind has produced a series of YouTube videos to support people's mental health during the pandemic. They cover topics like mindfulness, post-natal mental health, supporting your staff's mental health, and managing anxiety. 
  • Bristol Mental Health Employment Service is a free, impartial and confidential service to help people with a mental health condition find or stay in work, across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. Run by Richmond Fellowship and Mental Health Matters, its support includes advice on writing a CV, and techniques for job interviews.
  • Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership has a 24-hour helpline for anyone struggling with their mental health, or for people worried about loved ones with mental health issues. Call 0300 303 1320 for round-the-clock advice and support from mental health professionals and clinicians. This service is suitable for adults and children. 
  • Thrive Bristol is offering a range of free mental health courses for people in the VCSE sector. The courses, which take place online, cover topics such as wellbeing, resilience, suicide awareness, and bereavement. Priority will be given to people working with communities experiencing mental health inequalities. Private training for organisations can also be arranged; email thrive.bristol@bristol.gov.uk
  • Age UK Bristol has launched a support hub for older people on 0117 929 7537, offering advice and support from a range of local organisations supporting older people. Download the information sheet below.
  • Older people facing loneliness may want to contact Silverline, a free 24-hour helpline providing friendship and support for older people. The number to call is 0800 470 8090.
  • Marmalade Trust has posted a blog about how to deal with loneliness during self-isolation.

Personal safety information in community languages

Domestic violence and safeguarding

  • This summary of local services from Keeping Bristol Safe provides a range of sources of help.
  • The National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by Refuge, is available on a freephone number 0808 200 0247. However, if you think someone is in immediate danger, please call 999.
  • 6 April 2020: Next Link, which provides support to women and children in the Bristol and South Gloucestershire area who are domestic abuse survivors, has its helpline open from 10am - 4pm Monday-Friday; call 0117 925 0680, Next Link's live webchat service will also run during these hours. Safe Link, its sister organisation for abuse survivors in Avon and Somerset, has a helpline with the same opening hours; call 0333 323 1543.
  • Women's Aid has a COVID-19 resource hub and safety advice for survivors of domestic abuse. This includes information on leaving an abuser, and on child contact.
  • Somerset & Avon Rape & Sexual Abuse Support (SARSAS) has merged its two helplines. You can call 0808 801 0456 or 0808 801 0464. Lines are open to everyone from 11am-2pm on Monday and Friday, and 12pm-2pm then 6pm-8pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Alternatively, email support@sarsas.org.uk.
  • If you're worried about a child's safety and wellbeing during COVID-19, there is now a central response service to use, called See, Hear, Respond.
    Please call Barnardo's on 0800 157 7015, or visit their dedicated webpage.

Community services

  • Nilaari has set up a support group, Black Women Pause, responding to the pandemic and to the Black Lives Matter movement. It is a safe space for Black women to share their thoughts, feelings and experiences during COVID-19.
  • Eastside Community Trust is running a project to support older people in Easton and Lawrence Hill use computer technology, such as Zoom, which will help them stay connected to others. If you know an older person who would like to be more confident on a computer and would appreciate help from a younger person, please email Tracy at tracyeb@upourstreet.co.uk or call 07947 830973. 
  • Supportive Parents has produced a resource hub for young people with additional needs covering local services.
  • Sirona Care and Health has launched a single phone number for anyone who needs to access adult community health services in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire - for example, from district nurses, therapists and support workers. You can phone 0300 125 6789, and your call will be answered by a clinician or an administrator. Though this number is staffed 24 hours a day, it is for non-emergency calls.
  • Shelter is highlighting its housing advice service for anyone affected by coronavirus. Whether its illegal evictions, being forced to stay in dangerous situations or keeping up with rent payments, call 0344 515 1430 or visit their website for advice.
  • Bristol City Council's We Are Bristol hotline is on 0800 694 0184 for isolated and worried residents. Call 8.30am-5pm Monday to Friday for help and advice with food supplies, other essential items and medication.

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