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Persona: Gareth

Gareth is a 58 year widower. Since his wife died last year he’s struggled to maintain his health. He doesn’t see many people and has started to experience sudden bouts of anxiety.

He was recently prescribed anxiety medication which he feels has massively helped, but he’s found it stressful getting his prescription during lockdown. Gareth has no transport.  He has arthritis in his hips, so walking to the chemist is a painful ordeal.  His anxiety flares on public transport so he now avoids buses altogether.

He’s not been on the scales but Gareth is aware that he has put weight on since his wife died. His GP thinks he should eat better and do more exercise but Gareth isn’t sure what he can do with his hips the way they are.

Gareth used to like going to the football but his health issues have stopped that, too. Now he prefers to stay home. He likes to spend his time keeping his garden tidy and has recently been pleased to see that some bluetits have nested in the birdbox he’s attached to his fence.

He doesn’t have wifi at home but he does have a smart phone with data. He avoids using his phone for anything but calls because he feels like he doesn’t know what he’s doing and he’s heard that people have been hacked before.

“They’re always saying “you can find out more online”  I can barely make a phone call on this flaming thing!  Just leave it: I get by as I am.”

Persona: Caitlan

Caitlan is a 32 year old mother of two, with another on the way. She’s struggling to quit smoking.

Everything seems really hard at the moment and she often feels overwhelmed. Lockdown has been difficult and Caitlan is annoyed with herself for starting smoking again as a way to deal with stress and have a minute to herself. She quit 4 years ago when she found out she was pregnant with her first and found it quite easy. She thought it would be the same this time and since finding out her third baby is on the way a couple of weeks ago, she’s managed to cut down to a couple a day but struggled to quit completely.

Caitlan uses a smart phone, mostly for Facebook and Whatsapp. Her friends keep sending her suggesting of how to quit but she’s not sure whose advice to follow. She’s had some emails advertising anti-smoking treatments that look quite good but worries about possible effects on the baby.

The Pandemic has made Caitlan more stressed than ever because there’s so much information about what to do and what not to do, then her friends all post their opinions on Facebook and seem to contradict each other. Her young sons are supposed to be going back to nursery soon but she doesn’t know if she should send them. She often feels loney and cooped up in the house but isn’t sure whether it’s safe to take the boys out or if she can see anyone socially. There’s so much to think about it’s keeping her awake at night.

“I really want to get some help because I know smoking isn’t good for the baby. I don’t know what help I can access or where to begin looking. Everything feels very confusing right now and I don’t know who to talk to about it.”

Persona: Jem

Jem is a 23 year old student who has been sleeping increasingly badly and drinking more.

Alongside studying they work part time at a bar. They have been furloughed for a few months now but have just started back working a few shifts. They are glad to be at work for the money and the routine but are worried about getting ill from being around more strangers.

Jem has been increasingly worried about everything going on at the moment – health stuff, political stuff, money too – they’ve not felt they’ve had the energy to look after themselves properly. While furloughed they’ve been relying on cheap takeaways and have got into the habit of drinking most nights to try and get to sleep. They used to enjoy going to the gym but have lost the motivation to do any exercise. The gym is due to reopen soon but Jem doesn’t know whether to bother going back. It has been good having one less bill to pay. Student services recommended Jem contact One You service but Jem’s struggling to motivate themselves to engage with it.

Before Covid-19 they enjoyed going to the cinema or a gig to decompress but they can’t do that at the minute. They are confident in using their smartphone and laptop.

“I’m finding it hard to cope with everything at the moment. My degree is really full on and I really struggle to chill out at the moment. I’d like to do stuff to improve my life but I don’t feel like I can. I feel like I’ve got no energy or headspace. Things would be easier if I could just sleep a bit more; I’m always tired and don’t have any energy. At least if I drink I can actually get to sleep…”