Kindness in the community
Last year a team of our Nursing students undertook a research project with Bishop's Castle, in Shropshire, England. One of the community health needs that the students identified was mental health. This issue has now been developed further with the Bishop's Castle community by another team of students, Katherine Caderas, Lucy Chote, Georgia Dobbs, Nicole Dunford, Sophie Fairbairn, Trinity Krueger, Josh Gallacher and Izzy Woodward.
The community identified that 15 to 24-year-olds were particularly at risk of depression and suicide. Mental health services are very limited locally, and there are delays in accessing services. This makes it particularly important for young people to look after themselves by talking about what they are going through and seeking help sooner rather than later. To address this need the students created a web-based portal which the Bishop's Castle community will populate with local resources. The students also produced two stickers for phones and laptops with the messages "Your mind matters" and "You can't put a plaster on your brain".
For elderly people, the long COVID-19 lockdown in the United Kingdom has increased their isolation, which is known to exacerbate the onset and development of dementia. The students designed a sign which businesses can use to signal that they welcome customers with dementia, contributing to Bishop's Castle becoming a "dementia friendly" community. The students also recommended a community kitchen which would provide a safe place for people with dementia to engage in meaningful activities. A public celebration such as a community lunch may also help Bishop's Castle residents to overcome their anxieties about re-socialisation as their lockdown restrictions ease.