Student nurse sets up social media support group to tackle COVID-19 isolation

Coronavirus and the lockdown have had a massive impact on mental health.

Ian Snug
20 May 2020
Social Isolation

There is an increase in stress and anxiety due to people being at home on their own.

A final-year student at the University of Huddersfield has developed an online resource designed to help people connect during the COVID-19 lockdown.

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Sophie Rane is in the closing stages of her Mental Health Nursing BSc degree at the University, and is already working in an acute mental health ward, caring for patients with a wide of range of conditions, including schizophrenia, psychosis, acute depression and personality disorders.

But Sophie is also aware that the coronavirus and the lockdown have had a massive impact on mental health.

“Community services are seeing a lot of stress-induced psychosis, or stress and anxiety due to people being at home on their own,” she said.

When the lockdown meant that Sophie spent a lonely 25th birthday this gave her an insight into the plight of isolated people.  So, she conceived the idea for a Facebook page that would enable people who visit to judge the state of their mental health by completing a survey.  The results will be graded on a “traffic light” system, indicating just what level of help and support are required and available.

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Sophie ran the concept past her personal tutor, Senior Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing Dr Ruth Elliot, who put her in touch with other students.  One of them, Nicky Haley, has worked with Sophie on creating the Facebook page, using a survey supplied by the University.

“Once people have taken the survey, the results will be green, amber or red,” said Sophie.

Green will indicate anxiety, or a low mood and the Facebook page will have resources to enable people to address their issues.

“Amber will be a forum where people can share their experiences and discuss what helps them,” said Sophie.

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And a Red result will lead to the offer of an email, message or call and some one-to-one support and advice on how to access to mental health services if needed.

The Facebook page is titled HUDS Uni – it’s OK to not be OK and a team of students will be recruited to help with the responses.  This will be a valuable opportunity for them.

“Some students are unable to go out and work on hospital wards because they are vulnerable to coronavirus themselves or have vulnerable people living at home, so we thought it this be a good way for them to get involved,” said Sophie.

The Facebook page is now up and running and although it is a response to Covid-19, it will remain relevant even after the passing of the pandemic, said Sophie.

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