A community partner for Sanctuary Housing in Torbay, Sal Renshaw has written a blog to talk about her experiences and what’s working well for her.
My name is Sal Renshaw and I’m a community specialist lead working with Sanctuary Housing and Imagine Multicultural Group CIC in Torbay. Some of the people I work with have severe mental health difficulties, so I wanted to write about my experiences with supporting them at the moment, as well as what’s working for me:
1. Making connections
Now more then ever, people may be suffering from loneliness, especially if they have mental health needs (I include myself in this category). I’m making a real effort to check in with one lady in particular who lives with depression – she says I’m keeping her alive. This is so kind of her, but the truth is I get so much from our interactions too.
2. Keeping normal life going
Ordinarily, I run groups at community centres in both Torquay and Paignton, offering safe spaces for local women to come together and share experiences. I know some members find the women’s circles to be real lifelines so I’m now leading the groups over Zoom. It’s obviously not quite the same, but it’s helping everyone to keep to a similar routine.
I’ve spoken before now about how hard the menopause has hit me, and with that for me goes severe anxiety. Add in the lockdown and my mental health can be very up and down. I’ve found that a routine of exercising, particularly yoga, really helps with this. Yes, some days it’s hard to get myself going, but I know how much better I’ll feel afterwards. I always encourage the people I’m working with to give yoga a go.