A local bereavement service has adapted its services to offer phone and online counselling at a time when physical contact has been limited by social distancing.
Guernsey Bereavement Service (GBS) has been working since the start of the crisis to reshape its services so that it can continue to provide counselling, information and advice during the current unprecedented circumstances.
Social distancing measures have been in place since March, in addition to strict restrictions on gatherings of people which has seen attendance at funerals significantly restricted.
Visits to terminally ill loved ones in care settings have also been restricted in order to try and stop the transmission of the corona virus and keep vulnerable islanders shield from Covid-19.
GBS Manager Clara Le Vallee said that Guernsey’s swift action in tackling Covid-19 has protected the island from some of the worst possible impacts of the virus.
However, the necessary restrictions in place have made sharing feelings and memories more difficult, while for others, isolation and constant updates on the number of cases and deaths have cause painful memories of past losses to resurface.
“Our volunteer counsellors are highly trained but they clearly couldn’t continue to work face-to-face with clients," said Ms Le Vallee. “We quickly developed training in the skills needed for phone and online counselling, which they are now using to support clients.
Pictured: There are expected to be further updates on the island's lockdown strategy at today's media briefing.
“I would encourage anyone who is experiencing loss and needs help to understand and manage their feelings to get in touch with us now to chat it through and see how we can help. The service is completely confidential and tailored to each individual.”
One person who has already used the new phone service had brought them "great help and comfort" at an extremely difficult time.
“The telephone sessions help me make sense of the world, and to cope with my bereavement at a time when social contact with other people is limited. I have found remote counselling a great help and comfort.”
Another service user said the online support had some advantages over physical counselling sessions.
“It feels very comfortable to share my own thoughts. It is quite calming to be at home and it feels more confidential. It feels freer because I am less self-conscious and more ready to open up.”
Working with the States of Guernsey, GBS has produced a leaflet, ‘Grieving in extraordinary times’, which is available online at gov.gg.
People who want would like more information about the GBS' counselling service can also contact the charity directly by emailing manager@GBS.org.gg or calling 257778.
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