• Clodagh Meaney

Cork Sexual Health Centre launch ‘how to’ guide for maintaining relationships during COVID-19

The guide aims to help people maintain relationships with themselves and others during the global health pandemic

By Clodagh Meaney

Marriages, family relations and other relationships are under increased pressure since the implementation of social distancing measures, Cork’s Sexual Health Centre has reported.

While many people have not had the opportunity to enjoy the company of their loved ones in months, others are with their partners or families all day, every day.

“During any kind of crisis, a common and natural reaction is to become increasingly judgemental and critical of yourself and others,” noted Catherine Kennedy, manager of the Sexual Health Centre.

“This pandemic has put immense pressure on people in their day to day lives. In light of this, self-awareness and communication skills are increasingly important for maintaining healthy relationships and a positive environment at home."

“It is normal to feel low and negative at times. The real issue lies in people not recognising their own emotional reactions," she added.

“In order to maintain healthy, honest relationships, it is essential to be aware of, and understanding of, your own emotions."

The comments come following reports of the Central Statistics Office's latest figures regarding the social impact of COVID-19. Those reporting high satisfaction in their personal relationships dropped from 60 per cent in 2018, to 42.2 per cent in April 2020.

The Sexual Health Centre has launched an online guide to navigating healthy relationships during the COVID-19 outbreak, in collaboration with Mr. Daniel Flynn, Principal Psychology Manager of HSE Cork South Mental Health Services.

“Everybody deals with relationship problems at some point in their lives, and it is natural to be feeling particularly challenged by your relationships during the pandemic," Catherine added.

“Since the implementation of social distancing measures, many people have had difficulty in dealing with emotional awareness, self-worth, interpersonal skills, isolation, cohabitation and intimacy. This guide addresses all of these issues and provides a toolkit for maintaining healthy relationships in the context of social distancing."

“Our team and free helpline service also provide free counselling and virtual workshops on relationships and wellbeing. All of our staff are fully committed to meeting clients’ needs and ensuring service delivery with no bias, no judgement, and no exception,” she concluded.

The guide covers issues such as self-worth, maintaining healthy relationships, interpersonal effectiveness, as well as isolation and cohabitation, intimacy and ideal date night activities.

The campaign is ongoing across the centre's social media accounts, as well as on their website. You can access the guide free of charge here.

Last month the centre launched a #SafeRSex campaign to help those in quarantine to avail of a free condom postal service.

Part of the campaign is also aimed at sex workers in order to assist those who need to continue working, with the charity encouraging workers to engage in services available to them at this time.

For further information you can contact the centre: info@sexualhealthcentre.com or on 021-4276676

© 2020 by EMPWR

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