Providing more support to vulnerable individuals on islands

Those facing isolation, addiction, mental health challenges, etc. must be provided greater support, especially in remote rural communities and islands. This is really difficult as what they most need social interaction. Connecting them to the internet and delivering support over the internet is only a very partial solution. Enabling social interaction, with appropriate protective measures, for such individuals with health professionals, befrienders, etc. is something that must be addressed quickly in any easing of lockdown restrictions.

Why the contribution is important

• Some islands have a higher proportion of elderly people than the Scottish average. This makes them vulnerable to Covid-19. It also makes them vulnerable to the harms caused by lockdown. For example, a community dementia project on Uist made significant progress in engaging with service-users, families and carers around dementia, but lockdown is now reversing these positive developments The only effective ‘treatment’ to slow dementia is social interaction, and lockdown has significantly curtailed the excellent service the project was providing. And similar harm is being caused to other elderly people, whether they suffer from dementia or not. As one person in their 90s put it, “I may not have long to go, and isolation has wasted two months of the precious time left to me.” The strong social interaction typically delivered by our island communities prolongs life – without it, some lives are being shortened. • Islands and remote rural communities have often faced significant challenges with social isolation, leading to high incidences of mental health challenges and addiction. Lockdown will be enhancing this harm, especially around mental health and alcohol addiction.

by ThomasUist on May 11, 2020 at 09:28PM

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