Over this past year, Quaker Service in Belfast, Northern Ireland, has seen a deterioration in the mental health of the families served, particularly in young people. With lack of private space in challenging household environments, young people are feeling increasingly detached from the people they live with. Young people have been telling Quaker Service that they are struggling with anxiety, instability, uncertainty, deterioration of mental health, and difficulties and/or relationship breakdown at home.
During COVID-19 lockdown periods, many staff at the Quaker Cottage family crisis center were furloughed. The remaining staff and volunteers kept in regular contact with families, providing practical and emotional support through phone calls and video conferencing. They also provided engagement for the children such as reading stories, singing songs, and other activities to do at home. Quaker Service has also been delivering emergency food packages, ensuring families have enough gas and electricity as well as providing activity packs for the children and young people.
The work in prisons also continues through email, one-on-one Zoom calls, and letter writing.
Learn more: Quaker Service