New social distancing and self-isolation rules are changing the way we keep in touch. If you're worried about someone who may already be struggling, we've got some tips that might come in handy.
⚠️ We're updating the information on this page in relation to the Coronavirus outbreak. The advice on this page may change significantly as the situation continues to develop.
Page last updated: 9 October 2020
We know how important human connection is. And we're aware of how hard life might be for a lot of people facing new challenges at this time.
Now, more than ever, we need to keep our connections strong. It might feel more difficult to mention to someone that you’re worried about them if you haven’t seen them in person for a while. During this period of uncertainty, we want to help you feel confident supporting others who may be struggling. You are not alone. If you think somebody might need help, trust your instincts and strike up a conversation.
Reaching out to someone can make a big difference if they’re going through a tough time. It can be a video call, a phone call, a text, a DM or a socially distanced walk in your local park. You could use this time to write a letter or an email, too. Starting a conversation and showing you care can be the first step to helping someone feel less isolated.
There’s no right or wrong way to get started. Trust your instincts and remember that you chat with people in lots of different ways every day.
It's also OK if you don’t get a response straight away. If they don't answer, they may still have read your message or seen your call. That notification buzz can be enough to let them know you care and may encourage them to reach out for support.
If you're worried about someone during the coronavirus outbreak, we've got some tips to help you reach out.
If you're worried about someone
How to get the conversation started
If you're worried about someone, have a look at our page How to support someone you're worried about, which contains guidance on how to start a difficult conversation, as well as listening tips and advice from Samaritans volunteers.
Tools you could use
Technology has made it much easier for us to keep in touch now that we can’t talk face to face. There are loads of free and easy-to-use tools to help you reach out to someone and show them that you care. That virtual dinner, chat or drink could make all the difference.
- If you're speaking on the phone, use video if you can. It can make it easier to read people's body language and can help build trust
- You can text, too. It's best to use whichever method of contact you usually speak to them on so they feel comfortable
Social distancing and meeting in person
Some people may feel anxious about meeting in person, even with social distancing in place. For people who are shielding or in a vulnerable group, they may need to follow different guidance.
As guidance across the UK and ROI changes, it is important to check the what the rules are in place for your location if you are planning to meet with friends and family outside of your household or support bubble.
If you are able to meet in person, it can be helpful to talk about what you are both comfortable with beforehand. Some people may not want to meet in a café or in their home but might be OK with going for a walk outside. Having a plan can help people to feel more at ease and in control ahead of time.
The latest social distancing guidance for people in the UK is available here, and public health guidance for the Republic of Ireland can be found here.