Siobhan O’Neill on the need to develop “pack leaders” at every level of society in our responses to Covid 19…

Now today’s Cargo of Bricks with Siobhan O’Neill, Northern Ireland’s mental health champion was recorded before this morning’s announcement of a four-week circuit breaker lockdown, which in reality is some way short of the near-total lockdown we had in Spring.

But in today’s podcast, we cover what we have learned so far and what are the issues that come with facing the uncertainty of a second wave and trying to balance a number of factors external to the core concern of slowing down the spread of the virus…

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In it we cover…

  • Our response in the spring was pretty normal to a previously unknown threat: the panic buying of food and toilet roll was the instinctive response you might expect to fulfil the base of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. But we also discovered that our communities have the agency to protect themselves.
  • As things change we need clear messaging, not just from the centre but we also need to translate those guidelines into more culturally specific circumstances like sport, weddings and funerals. To do that well we must start bringing together epidemiologists, mental health and behavioural scientists.
  • Maintaining well being is crucial. So we need to think about our diet, our levels of activity (which can help with reducing the stress of living in uncertain circumstances and get us back into a position where we can calmly go about doing the more regulated problem solving that everyday life brings.

Throughout Siobhan stresses the necessity of developing “pack leaders” at every level of society, who can model the sort of behaviour we need to see in others, not just from the top down. Sport, education and even leisure activities can play a huge role in maintaining individual well being.

Above all, we need to respect and appeal to the intelligence and integrity of two much talked about populations, our young people and the elderly many of whom are very resilient and who are looking for their own agency in and through this crisis.

If you would like to get involved in #TheReset with Ulster Bank either as an individual or as part of an organisation, please do get in touch by emailing us at [email protected] with an idea for inclusion in a range of articles or events over September and October.

In the meantime, you can catch up on Cargo of Bricks and In Conversation and subscribe on Apple Podcasts | Google PodcastsSpotify, or wherever you get your quality podcasts.