We care. We’re here for you.
Caring for someone with mental health issues (including dementia) can often be a long, frustrating and stressful journey. The COVID-19 Circuit Breaker measures seek to curb the spread of the virus by getting all Singapore residents to stay home and reduce physical contact. This will undoubtedly add to the burden of caregiving and increase the feeling of loneliness and social isolation.
For CAL, we have to stop all face to face activities and withdraw our staff from the Caregivers Support Centre (CSC) at the Institute of Mental Health, as well as from various hospitals around Singapore. Since 7 April, we have had to close our head office at Valley Point too. That’s really painful for us because that’s where we have held many activities to engage and equip our caregivers and to help them find new friends and support from others who are just like them.
We will not be stopped by COVID-19. We will adapt and find new ways of connecting and engaging with our existing pool of caregivers. We will continue to reach out to caregivers who have yet to benefit from our services and from the sharing of the wonderful caregiver volunteers and staff in CAL.
We have increased the number of available helplines from 1 to 6! These 5 additional helplines will be manned by your familiar C2C programme managers in the respective clusters.
West Cluster: 97207590 & 97707996
Central Cluster: 97298628 & 98267115
East Cluster: 97369170
While our Valley Point Office remains closed, the helpline number 6460 4400 has been diverted and will be manned by our HQ staff.
We welcome you to talk to us if you need help during this uncertain time. CAL is committed to keeping our channels of communication open to provide caregivers with emotional support, offer information that helps, or extend referrals to our partner agencies who can assist in addressing specific areas of need.
CAL’s helplines are available on weekdays between 9 am to 6 pm (excluding public holidays).
C2C Online Classes
Many caregivers have benefitted from our Caregivers-to-Caregivers Training Programme (C2C), more than 5000 in the last 8 years! The fully funded 12-week course for Caregivers of Persons with Mental Health Issues (PMHIs) has been converted to online lessons.
Here’s a shout-out to all our caregivers. If you know of someone who is caring for a loved one who suffers from mental health issues, please let them know about our online C2C classes.
What about other family members in your household? Perhaps this is the time to introduce them to our community, so they can learn what you have been taught in C2C and benefit from the same understanding, knowledge and skill in caregiving and self-care. Signups for online C2C classes can be done via the helplines or through online registration at www.cal.org.sg/c2c
Calling All Caregivers
It has always been important to us that our support goes beyond the C2C classes. During the Circuit Breaker period, our staff will be seeking to reconnect with those who have attended our C2C classes. Our desire is to follow up with everyone in our existing database of caregivers.
Be it through our WhatsApp groups, a phone call, an email or an SMS, we hope to have a check-in with our caregivers and find out how they are coping. Perhaps you can also check-in with your ex-classmates from your C2C class or a fellow caregiver whom you have made friends with during our engagement activities. Do reach out and stay connected!
Supporting Caregivers who are Business Owners
While there is a lot of government support for individuals, our hearts go out to owners of small businesses whose business model have been completely disrupted by COVID-19. We have some caregivers who are faced with the dilemma that they might have to discontinue their business and lose not just their savings and investment, but their dreams. Can we support them during COVID-19?
We have created a business listing for our caregivers who are running their own businesses. Please visit www.cal.org.sg/support-caregiver-businesses and reach out to support them with your online orders if you have something that you need from them. If you are one of our caregivers and would like to have your business listed with us, please call us on our helplines or reach out to any CAL staff whom you know.
CAL exists for Caregivers of Persons with Mental Health Issues and we truly care for those we serve. COVID or no COVID, we will continue to figure out how to engage more, equip more and empower more caregivers so that they can experience a greater sense of well-being and be more resilient in their caregiving journey.
Look out too for some of the new ideas and initiatives that we are currently developing. And as a final call, please do reach out to us, stay in touch, get help when needed but also offer help to others who are just like you, a caregiver.