Here are some tips, hotlines and texting services to help combat isolation caused by the spread of Covid-19.
Posted in , May 4, 2020
As the global pandemic continues to force millions of people to stay home, these times of isolation are bringing forth a sense of loneliness among people of all ages. With the help of technology and cellular devices, people are finding ways to virtually spread encouragement from a distance.
Here are three ways to share positive messages through your phone with those who are isolated and lonely during the shutdown.
A group of high school students in Calgary, Canada are bringing positivity and joy to seniors in isolation with a simple phone call. The Joy4All Project, which launched on April 10, allows callers to dial a toll-free number and choose from a selection of prerecorded, uplifting messages “to keep everyone engaged and happy during these tough times.”
The project is run by members of Ever Active Schools, a leadership program offered by the Calgary Board of Education, to help lift the spirits of those in some of the most vulnerable populations, senior citizens in particular. Ali Ahmad, one of the 21 students behind the project, hopes the hotline brings joy and happiness to the elderly through the many jokes, stories, poems and motivational messages the program offers.
“Through this project, we will be able to show our appreciation to people that are self-isolating and give them something they can always look forward to in their day,” Ahmad stated in the launch announcement. “Hopefully, it can lighten the mood and help save lives.”
According to Daily News, within the first week of launching, Joy4All received 2,300 calls and 5,500 visitors to its website.
A nonprofit called Mental Health America is making the most of virtual connection by launching a program that allows people to send and receive inspirational text messages to strangers. Mental Health America partnered with Sinch, a cloud communications company, to launch Text for Humanity, the world’s first texting switchboard created to provide a safe place of encouragement for people all around the world.
Since the launch of the program in January, more than 80,000 messages have been sent throughout the world. Mental Health America CEO and president Paul Gionfriddo spoke to Good News Network about the impact a simple message can have on those struggling with isolation.
“We know there is a lot of negativity online these days—and by taking a minute to deliver a simple, positive message to someone who may need it, each of us can help brighten someone’s day and lift up their overall mental well-being.”
The Pennsylvania-based Community Action, a non-profit organization that improves the community and helps families achieve economic independence, launched a Phone-a-Friend program that encourages interaction between volunteers and seniors who feel lonely during this time of social distancing and isolation. The new, free program encourages new volunteers as well as seniors to sign up for two to three phone calls per week in which volunteers will direct the elderly to the resources they might need help gaining access to.
Phone-a-Friend is intended to help both parties, as people of all ages are feeling lonely during the pandemic. “We want to make sure people know someone is there,” Schrecengost, Senior Corps retired seniors volunteer program director, told The Courier Express. “That way everybody has a friend they can talk to.”