Shift.ms has launched a 1-2-1 video service for those in isolation.
Co-vid Companion aims to reduce the heightened isolation and loneliness that can exist during this pandemic by connecting people with MS (MSers) who are cut off or experiencing heightened levels of anxiety due to COVID-19.
Anyone with MS can sign up to the service.
It is not intended solely for the isolated and anxious, but also for MSers who want to help others, or those simply wanting to have someone to share their experience with virtually.
Shift.ms is an online platform for MSers, where they can connect with each other and share experiences through a forum and direct messaging.
Co-vid Companion aims to connect people on a 1-2-1 basis and help break the boredom and anxiety that self-isolation can bring.
George Pepper, chief executive and co-founder of Shift.ms, said: “MSers have always been amazing at supporting each other and never has this been more important with many of us facing weeks and months in isolation.
“We’ve seen many comments both on our forum and over social media of MSers saying they’re on their own and don’t have anyone to talk to.
"Whilst we’re all worrying about every hint of a COVID-19 symptom, mental health issues will be ever present.
"It’s crucial we support each other during this time.”
Shift.ms says research shows forming relationships in a face-to-face environment can bring many health benefits.
- A Positively UK survey found 66% of people preferred to access peer support face-to-face with one person.
- The BBC released information encouraging people to connect via video calls while in isolation.
- National Voices research indicates face-to-face support improves people’s experience of peer support, their health behaviour and outcomes.
Since the outbreak of the virus Shift.ms has seen an appetite from its members for content relating to Coronavirus and MS.
There was a spike in website traffic (an increase of 92.6% compared to the same day a month previous) the day the charity released a MS Reporters interview with neurologist Professor Gavin Giovannoni about the impact the virus could have on people with MS.
In addition to this, pages about coronavirus are currently the top landing pages on the website.
Conversations about coronavirus and MS on the Shift.ms website are available here.