A new ‘wellbeing hub’ to keep people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) connected during the coronavirus pandemic has received backing of £48,708 from the Scottish Government’s Wellbeing Fund.
Ahead of World MS Day (Saturday 30 May), MS Society Scotland is formally launching its suite of hundreds of free online and telephone sessions for people affected by the condition to access.
This includes access to one-to-one calls, counselling, financial wellbeing and physio support as well as many other activities designed to ensure people’s physical and mental health is maintained during the pandemic.
More than 15,000 people live with MS in Scotland and the wide range of meetings, webinars and calls delivered through the wellbeing hub will reach hundreds of these people.
Morna Simpkins, Director of MS Scotland (pictured), said:
“We are delighted to have received funding to ensure that we can extend vital services we are providing people with MS can continue at this difficult time.
“Our research shows that our community are up to 12 times more likely to experience loneliness than on average – with three in five having felt extremely lonely as a result of their MS – so at a time when people are more isolated than ever it is key that there are services like this in place to support people.
“We have designed a range of sessions to support people’s emotional and physical health as well as a weekly schedule of activities and webinars to access.
“We know this is more important than ever, with many in our community shielding and people currently unable access their usual services due to the pandemic.
“If anyone is feeling isolated or you would like more support to maintain your wellbeing please do contact us and sign-up to what’s on offer.”
The hub aims to improve emotional wellbeing by reducing levels of anxiety, stress, isolation and loneliness as well as physical wellbeing with increased physical activity levels, improved strength, stamina, balance, mobility and reduced fatigue.
Physical activities like yoga, pilates and seated exercise will be available as live ‘tasters’ with pre-recorded online exercise sessions also available online.
People will also be able to access one-to-one physio appointments – something which has been an issue for some people as additional stress has been placed on the NHS.
In total, 470 online meetings, webinars and sessions will be offered to 350 people living with MS.
To improve mental health, counselling sessions are available as well as calls with the MS Society team to help people find more information or other organisations that can support them.
Marlene, 66, lives in Stirling, and has the relapsing form of MS.
She has been shielding at home for over two months.
“I’m a strong person but I’m struggling at the moment.
“I have never felt so alone and the longer this goes on the more distant I feel from everything.
“All the classes and activities I enjoy have been cancelled, and my social life and support structures just disappeared overnight.
“My body isn’t behaving itself right now either, so I’m coping with that while being confined to the house with no support.
“My mental state is beginning to fray at the edges.”
MS Society Scotland will also hold a weekly schedule consisting of wellbeing webinars on mindfulness, relaxation, and tapping therapies in addition to virtual socials led by peer volunteers and craft and skills webinars.
These webinars on subjects like creative writing, book binding and singing will be delivered by volunteers from the MS community.
To find out more and to talk to someone about how to access the services that make up the ‘wellbeing hub’ please email us at WellbeingScotland@mssociety.org.uk or talk to us on 0131 335 4081.