SINCE the nationwide lockdown came into effect, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council says it has been “robust in its response” to reduce the risk that the COVID-19 virus poses to the physical health and emotional wellbeing of people across the borough.
During Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24 May), the local authority has used the national campaign led by the Mental Health Foundation as an opportunity to share information on how it has been helping residents stay physically active, mentally strong and emotionally resilient throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lord Mayor Councillor Mealla Campbell, who has organised a number of fundraising events in support of Inspire Mental Health during her year in office, said: “Now, more than ever, we must show strong civic leadership as we contend with the most serious public health crisis of our time.
“In addition to maintaining essential services, prioritising the health and wellbeing of the local community has been a primary focus of our local response effort.
“Back in March, we established an online Covid-19 health and wellbeing hub and began sharing important guidance and advice from a range of trusted sources. This hub has gradually been developed to provide information on all aspects of health and wellbeing.
“As lockdown slowly eases, we still need to do all we can in the months ahead to maintain our health and wellbeing. I would strongly recommend that residents keep up to date with, and signpost friends and family to this valuable resource.”
The hub has been instrumental in helping residents across the borough access streamlined and trusted information all in one central location.
Key messages from central government including the Public Health Agency about regular handwashing, social distancing and staying at home are being shared via the hub and social media channels.
Individuals in crisis are able to access a local directory of support services and helplines, where they can seek professional advice for a host of issues including mental health, addiction, abuse, bereavement, family relationships and more.
Residents are also signposted to quality checked and approved Healthcare NI apps identified as the best and safest for promoting many aspects of health and wellbeing such as stress management, nutrition, exercise and sleep improvement.
Council exercise instructors and coaches continue to add to a growing library of home exercise videos that are proving very popular among residents. These videos are also available on the Get Active ABC YouTube channel.
Families are encouraged to keep children creative and learning at home with play activities recommended by PlayBoard NI.
The ‘ABC Get Creative’ initiative has enabled the council to engage with local children who continue to send in pictures of what makes them happy. Similarly, the ‘My Covid-19 Time Capsule’ has been an equally popular engagement tool.
The hub also promotes the RoSPA campaign ‘Accident Free, Avoid A&E’ aimed at keeping people accident, injury free and out of hospital.
Among the many other topics included on the hub are guidance and advice about leading a healthy lifestyle, healthy eating and food safety.
The council’s hub and social media channels continue to be used extensively to amplify important messages about health and wellbeing from the Department of Health, Southern Trust, and the Health and Social Care Board.
Residents can access the hub at www.armaghbanbridgecraigavon.gov