Over the coming weeks and months, there’s is going to be a lot of very upsetting news. So we asked the team to share some practical suggestions to help your mental health, help you feel a little more in control of the situation, as well as opportunities to help other people out.
Get involved in a mutual aid group in your community.
“All across the country people are banding together to provide care and support for the most vulnerable in their communities who are having to self-isolate. If you are healthy and able, you can check out https://covidmutualaid.org/ to find your local group or get support to start one.
These groups recognise that injustice does not affect everyone equally, and that communities can step up when higher powers fail our most vulnerable. The concept of mutual aid is really important to me, and it’s given me a lot of hope to see how many of these groups have sprung up across the country”.
Catrina, YFoES Network Co-ordinator
Show solidarity with self-employed people.
“With two greyhounds and an office job, I use a fantastic local dog walker during the week to keep my pooches entertained. Because I can work from home, I’m very fortunate that my income won’t be affected during the pandemic, but hers will be.
I’ve guaranteed that I’ll still pay her in the event of a temporary period of lockdown so that she can continue to pay her bills and keep her business afloat. I’d encourage anyone in a similar position – who is able – to support self-employed people and those on zero hours or temporary contracts in their community. We’ll also be supporting local eateries offering takeaway services, and regularly donating to a foodbank”.
Rebecca, Digital and Events Fundraiser
Demand that tenants are protected.
“With many people’s lives and work being disrupted by the coronavirus crisis, making rent or finding a new home is increasingly difficult, if not completely impossible. We need the Government to take urgent action to protect people in vulnerable housing situations so that everyone has a safe place to stay.
BREAKING: All evictions to be banned in Scotland!— Living Rent (@Living_Rent) March 24, 2020
Of course there is still more to be done to protect tenants over the coming months, but be in no doubt: this is an enormous victory, and it wouldn’t have happened without a fighting tenants’ movement demanding it. https://t.co/PzKJRj3eAI
Living Rent is Scotland’s tenants union and they work tirelessly to protect people against unfair landlords and housing policies. They’ve already succesfully forced the Scottish Government to ban all evictions during the pandemic. But they’ll need your help and support in the coming months to keep protecting tenants. Visit the Living Rent website“.
Kate, Activism Organiser
Take action to support the National Health Service
“With plans for private hospitals to lease 8,000 beds to the NHS for an obscene £2.4 million per day, there have been calls for the UK Government to mobilise all health capacity – be it public or private, to deal with the coronavirus crisis and support healthcare staff.
At Friends of the Earth Scotland, we campaign tirelessly for corporations and governments to put people before profit, so we’re really supportive of this campaign from GMB. This trade union represents many NHS staff and they are calling for private hospital beds to be requisitioned during this period of national emergency. Sign it here“.
Kate, Activism Organiser
Go for a walk or a run in your local area (if you can, always keeping safe distance from other people!)
“Social distancing can feel quite claustrophobic and restrictive, and I struggle to spend lots of time indoors – especially if I’m working and living in the same space. I also feel like now more than ever I need the benefits that exercise gives to my mental wellbeing, so it was a huge relief when the Government’s latest restrictions included allowance for a walk, run, or cycle once a day. Since working from home I’ve found going outside after I finish working helps create a mental gap between working from home and just being at home.
Generally, people on the street have been good at keeping a healthy distance apart, but I recommend trying to head to a local park or area that you know will have few people and some space. I’ve found it quite fun using Google Maps to find places near me that fit the bill which I’ve not visited, or finding new quiet routes to my favourite local views. Why not use your one daily walk or run to explore those places near you that you never get round to seeing? You’d be amazed what you might stumble across!”
Fergus, Parliamentary Officer
Friends of the Earth Scotland joined scores of organisations in calling for a united global response to this COVID-19 pandemic that ensures a just recovery and transition to a better future for those most in need in the wake of this crisis. Read more