The Department of Health, in conjunction with the HSE, key cross-Governmental and cross-sectional partners have developed and launched the ‘Getting through COVID-19 Together’ campaign. The campaign is a response to the widespread anxiety, stress and fear caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, and aims to provide resources for the public to maintain their wellbeing and resilience during this immensely challenging time. The campaign covers many areas such as physical activity, parenting, schooling at home, making new daily routines, supporting the ‘cocooned’, and community solidarity efforts.
The campaign is hosted primarily on gov.ie and will be run over the coming months on national and local radio stations, online video players / on-demand services, national / local publicity, as well as on digital and social advertising.
There are 6 topics of information in the campaign, providing advice, links and documents relevant to maintaining wellness, a healthy lifestyle, community support and safety.
This section discusses some of the common feelings people might be experiencing during this time of heightened anxiety. There is advice on staying up to date with factual information to keep worries at bay, advice on healthy routines that help stress management, ways to keep in touch with people and more. There are also links to phone and online mental health support services.
Here you can find advice on adapting to being at home full time, making new routines, working at home and tapping into creativity as a resource for stress management. This section also features ideas and links for helping children and young adults adapt to schooling at home, having less social contact and maintaining a positive mind-set during this time. Resources from the Department of Education and Skills are also linked in this section.
With restrictions on movement and closures of places like gyms and pools, normal exercise routines can be heavily impacted. This campaign topic provides advice on keeping active while staying safe; exercising at home, keeping kids active, exercising for older people, and outdoor activity. There are links to sports sites, fitness information and workout videos.
With stress and uncertainty, eating habits can fluctuate, and with making new routines, keeping a healthy eating schedule can be difficult. This section provides advice on maintaining healthy eating routines, quick meal recipes, advice on making healthier takeaway choices, nutrition, getting your kids involved in cooking, and more.
This section details some of the ways in which people can volunteer to help the more vulnerable people in their communities, as well as advice for those who receive help from volunteers. The ‘Community Call’ plan, launched by the Department of Rural and Community Development, is also detailed here, including a list of local authority helplines which people if they need assistance with things such as delivery of food and medication.
There is advice for staying safe and sensible while volunteering, and links to resources such as the Communication Park for Communities – a resource pack for community support volunteers. There is also some very useful links to organisations that provide support for those feeling isolated or lonely including ALONE and Irish Men’s Sheds.
Lastly, there is very pertinent advice on protecting against fraud and scams.
The HSE has advised people of 70 years of age and over to ‘cocoon’ during the COVID-19 crisis, and this section of the campaign site gives great advice on what the cocooning individuals should do, what the people in their households should do, advice for feeling safe, and also recommendations for carers of those who are cocooning. There are links to guidelines as well as downloadable PDF files.
Social media is a great tool for spreading information, and the ‘Getting through COVID-19 Together’ campaign uses the hashtag #Together on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to create an online atmosphere of community support and shared experience. While the campaign is fairly new, there has been great support across social media, with different organisations using the hashtag #Together, and sharing resources.