Relationships matter – and the current Coronavirus pandemic has brought that reality sharply into focus for us all over these last few weeks. As communities across Northern Ireland adjust to lockdown and guidelines on physical distancing, people are highlighting the real and significant impact on relationships in their conversations with us at Relate NI.
Loss and loneliness is evident; missed hugs from children or grandchildren and being alone due to medical advice to shield from family and friends. Difficult decisions are having to be made; frontline workers making painful and unimaginable decisions to move out of home to protect their families and couples making decisions whether or not to lockdown in the same house as their new partner. Roles have changed: parents are adjusting to being a home worker, home schooler. It’s clear that our relationships with those closest to us are vitally important.
Our current circumstances are also likely to increase levels of conflict in the home. We know that not all conflict is bad – constructive conflict can be a positive tool for partners and families to address issues. However, conflict which is frequent, intense and poorly resolved can really affect any children who witness or hear it. The evidence is clear – this type of conflict impacts children’s life chances by impacting on their physical and mental health as well as their educational attainment. More worryingly, we already know that worklessness and financial worries are a key driver of this type of conflict.
If you find that you’re arguing more and that children may be seeing it, please be sure to tell them explicitly that it’s not their fault that you’re arguing. There’s good evidence to show that this can significantly reduce any harm.
Relate NI are working hard to ensure that you can continue to access our services. Although we’ve had to suspend our face to face services due to government guidelines, our trained and experienced counsellors are available to support you via webcam and telephone because there is no more important time to prioritise and invest in your relationships. All of the research demonstrates that healthy relationships are the foundation of our health and wellbeing, and that they are essential to children’s future life chances.« Our tips and support to help you and your relationships through Covid 19 Mental Health Matters »
“I found the Relationship MOT an excellent method of focusing on we work as a couple and just as importantly, where we need to work. It was professional, insightful and well worth the time. It has reminded us of how much we have to be proud of in our relationship and why it is so important to occasionally review it with experts.”Service Attended Relationship MOT
“I would definitely recommend using the Relationship MOT service as a bit of a check in with your partner. I thought how the counsellor was able to steer the conversation was very insightful and nuanced. The MOT reminded us about why we are great together but also the importance of communication and respect.” “Our counsellor provided an outside perspective which immediately helped us to agree that we needed to stop and think with more kindness and empathy for each other especially when stressed or pissed off. We both felt that our counsellor’s excellent and gentle facilitation was quite invigorating. So many positives!”Service Attended Relationship MOT 2
Very Interesting Content. I like the concept of preparing your relationship before you have problemsService Attended Sustaining Healthy Relationships – Surestart 4
The face to face programme has made me feel connected with others experiencing similar thingsService Attended Sustaining Healthy Relationships – Surestart 3
The workshops made me more confident to balance family life after the baby's arrivalService Attended Sustaining Healthy Relationships – Surestart 2
I now have a better understanding of myself, it is good to know that it is normal to have argumentsService Attended Sustaining Healthy Relationships – Surestart 1
I felt the weekly questionnaire, couples with the counsellor's understanding of my needs help contribute to my own understanding of my mental health and needs throughout.Service Attended Adult Relationship Counselling for Individuals
I loved every session. Our counsellor listened to what we had to say and gave us helpful wee homework - would recommend this service to everybodyService Attended Adult Relationship Counselling for Couples
Our counsellor was a fantastic support - we now feel strong enough to continue working on our relationship togetherService Attended Adult Relationship Counselling for Couples
I had a very good counsellor that helped me through a lot and it has made me come out the other side.Service Attended Adult Relationship Counselling for Individuals
Counselling took us from a bad place to a good one and I would return if neededService Attended Adult Relationship Counselling For Couples
Been a lifeline to help us fall in love again - forever grateful!Service Attended Adult Relationship Counselling For Couples
I would just like to say that when I first came for counselling I felt that I was drowning. I have completed my sessions and I now feel that I can cope a lot better with everything. Thank you for a brilliant service.Service Attended Adult Relationship Counselling For Individuals
Thank you Relate NI for a good nights sleep.Service Attended Relate NI Kids Counselling
Really enjoyed Relate NI and I'm actually going to miss counselling. I Found it helpful to find myself again. Very fair and equal within our relationship.Service Attended Adult Relationship Counselling For Couples
I appreciated the straightforward, helpful and informed observations about situations. It really helped me cope during Christmas which is a difficult time for usService Attended Family Counselling
The counsellor was very pleasant to meet with. They had the necessary skills to speak and listen when appropriate. I liked their humour and good personality.Service Attended Family Counselling
Relate NI has helped me move on as well as understand myself and situation more. My counsellor listened to me, facilitated me and was compassionate!Service Attended Relate NI Teen Counselling
I felt the weekly questionnaire, coupled with counsellor's understanding of my needs helped contribute to my own understanding of my mental health and needs throughoutService Attended Adult Relationship Counselling For Individuals
We had four funded sessions and cannot express how grateful we are for the help, guidance and knowledge. Our counsellor was incredibly professional, and her experience and obvious passion for helping couples like us was exceptional. She helped us to understand ourselves and each other like we otherwise never would have been able to.Service Attended Adult Relationship Counselling For Couples
I have tried counselling many times in the past. This time actually made a difference. I was able to complete online sessions as well as some face to face.Service Attended Adult Relationship Counselling For Individuals