The global response to the Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in severe restrictions on the citizen’s rights to freely move and travel. In the UK, at the highest level of restriction, we have been told by government not to leave our homes unless absolutely necessary, leaving millions of people disconnected from friends, family, employment, and support services they would normally attend. The experience of social isolation can begin to impact upon people as varying and confusing levels of ‘lockdown’ continues, adding an additional burden upon those who may already be struggling with existing problems.
Scotland: attending mental health related appointments in-person
In Scotland The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 allows for citizens to physically attend services referred to in paragraph 37 or 38 of schedule 1 i.e. “including services relating to mental health” [The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 Section 8(5)c, Schedule 1, Part 3, 37]. This means that if you are physically healthy and not exhibiting symptoms of cold, flu or a cough, that you are permitted to travel to psychotherapy appointments and other mental health related services. Those services should still be implementing physical distancing measures within their premises, as well as relevant hygiene and decontamination practices e.g. disinfecting door handles and other surfaces.
- The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 10) Regulations 2021
- NHS Advice: Do not book a face-to-face appointment if you have a fever (over 37.8 degrees) or new cough or flu symptoms or have recently lost your sense of smell with no obvious cause. Stay at home and avoid close contact with other people for at least 7 days – people you live with will need to self-isolate for 14 days. SKYPE can be used for therapy instead until you recover.
- COVID-19 Self-Help GUIDE (Scotland)
Alternatives to Face-to-Face Appointments
There is absolutely no reason to stop or interrupt your existing psychotherapy or personal development work during the Corona Virus restrictions. Wherever you live in the world, even if you remain concerned about infection, patients can still be assessed or continue psychotherapy work and counselling just as effectively via SKYPE from the safety of their own homes. See my website for further details and ways to reduce costs for those most in need of support.
Wishing everyone the very best of health and wellbeing during unfolding events that bring restrictions that most of us have never experienced before. Stay well and stay connected with other people who care.
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