Covid-19 pandemic: Life Celebrant spreads light to the grieving

“For me, normally at the end of the service families are so grateful for what I’ve done, that they normally would want to give me a hug, or a shake of a people’s hands, when they come out, and not being able to do that has been really tough for me. Because you know, I’m watching people grieving. I’m watching people crying constantly. And naturally, all I want to do is to give them a hug. So not being able to do that, I’m finding that really difficult.”
– Life Celebrant, Sacha Marie Mulligan

Families struggle to cope with grief during Covid-19 pandemic

As many people are passing away due to Coronavirus related deaths or even non-related Coronavirus deaths at this time, families are struggling to create an atmosphere for their loved ones that have passed away by not having the option to invite the people they would like to have at the crematorium or funeral service due to the Covid-19 restrictions that have been imposed.

According to the UK Government site, every person in attendance at a crematorium or funeral service, should continue to follow the social distancing policy – standing or sitting 2 meters (6 ft.) a part. Also, only 10 attendees are allowed at the crematorium or funeral service, which includes:

  • members of the person’s household
  • close family members
  • or if the above are unable to attend, close friends
  • attendance of a celebrant of choice, should the bereaved request this

More information can be found here for managing a funeral during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Because families are so restricted to how they can plan a funeral or crematorium service, this can often cause more inflicted pain for families that are already grieving for their passing of their loved ones. Therefore, including a Life Celebrant can be a helpful resource to get families through this grieving process. Life Celebrants do their best to make the funeral or crematorium service as personable for the family members as possible.

According to Altmeyer – Funeral Homes & Crematory,  “Celebrants sit with loved ones in the days prior to a service and listen to stories and interests. Then they create a personalized service based on the individual and their beliefs.”

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues and people continue to pass away, Positive Psychologist and Life Celebrant Sacha Marie Mulligan does her best to create an atmosphere for each family that is grieving at this time, so that she can create a special service for their loved ones life who have passed away.

Covid-19 has changed how a Life Celebrant is able to work and comfort those who are grieving

Life Celebrant, Sacha Marie Mulligan and I set up a Zoom meeting to discuss how she has been able to perform her job effectively during this pandemic. Mulligan said, normally she would go to people’s houses to discuss the arrangements for the family member who have passed away; however, despite the Coronavirus circumstances she is unable to do so.

Mulligan has had to discuss the funeral or crematorium arrangements either through Zoom or simply just speaking about it on the telephone. After she has discussed with the family members what type of person – the deceased – who they were and whether or not they have a religious preference, Mulligan begins to organise a personal service for the family and their lost loved one. However, despite the extreme changes that have been imposed, Mulligan has had to get creative at times to create an atmosphere that the families would appreciate.

“One crematorium is now not offering music or a livestream, as such. However, most of the crematoriums do offer a livestream, so that people can click the link and watch it from the computer or their phones, but one of crematoriums is not offering any music. So what I’m doing is downloading music choices onto my phone taking my speaker and playing it myself for them, because it’s already a time that their struggling and grieving and then to add restrictions that they can’t celebrate somebody’s life as they would normally.”                           – Life Celebrant, Sacha Marie Mulligan

Once the crematorium or funeral services are over, Mulligan is having a really hard time with being able to comfort the families or accept their gratitude for what she has done to provide such a personable ceremony for their loved ones.

“For me, normally at the end of the service, families are so grateful for what I’ve done, that they normally would want to give me a hug, or a shake of a people’s hands, when they come out, and not being able to do that has been really tough for me. Because you know I’m watching people grieving. I’m watching people crying constantly. And naturally all I want to do is give them a hug. So not being able to do that, I’m finding it really difficult.”                                                  – Life Celebrant, Sacha Marie Mulligan

With considerations to how funeral and crematorium services are performed and operated due to the Covid-19 pandemic – Life Celebrant – Sacha Marie Mulligan offers a personal message to those families who are struggling loosing loved ones at this time:

“It doesn’t matter how many people are at a funeral service. It doesn’t mean that they’re not getting the send off that they deserve… you’re the ones that they loved and you loved them and it doesn’t matter how many people are there. Just know that they were loved and you were loved by them and just really try not to overthink everything. For example – thinking, ‘This isn’t what my dad or mum would have wanted.’ Just know it’s out of our control and let’s do the best with what we have and what we can do.”                                   – Life Celebrant, Sacha Marie Mulligan

Final words from Life Celebrant, Sacha Marie Mulligan:

“Just be grateful, because when you’re grateful you cannot be in a negative state of mind. Your mind doesn’t let you, so just look around and see what you can be grateful for.”                                                                                     – Life Celebrant, Sacha Marie Mulligan

Zoom interview featured below: To hear the full interview I had with Life Celebrant Sacha Marie Mulligan and what else she had to say, please press ▶️ on the video below.

The Covid-19 Pandemic Articles

Photo credit: ©Stock image –  1707462853 – by Andy Dean Photography

Featured below: In this section of my portfolio, you can click on the Titles or Images to view the Coronavirus articles I have written thus far. 

Covid-19 Chicago Survivor speaks out: “Two months later, and I still feel unwell”

Follow-up on Nurse Taylor: The struggles she faces as pandemic continues to get worse at the Navajo Nation Reservation

American couple change wedding plans amid Coronavirus pandemic

US Woman’s Collegiate Soccer Team undergo quarantine measures after Coronavirus outbreak on team: Soccer Player and Coach speak out

Covid-19 in Russia: Russian English School Administrator speaks out about online schooling measures

Covid-19 in Turkey: English Teacher says ‘kids will continue online learning through the rest of the year’

US Texan Middle School Teacher says online schooling measures ‘have not been effective’ amid pandemic

EXCLUSIVE: US Nurse conducts Covid-19 Contact Tracing at Navajo Nation Reservation

Covid-19 Exclusive: Mexico’s resort photographer speaks out

Indian Orphanage provides Covid-19 relief efforts to more than 10,000 internal migrants

COVID-19: Ahmadiyya Muslim Community assists in pandemic

Covid-19 EXCLUSIVE: Doctor in Brazil assists in pandemic

Covid-19: Turbine Technicians keep the lights on during pandemic

Covid-19: US New Jersey Pharmacist speaks out

Covid-19: Asylum seeker and partner provides acts of kindness for others during pandemic

Covid-19 EXCLUSIVE: Frontline UK Pharmacist reveals his experience

COVID-19 EXCLUSIVE: Frontline NHS Medical Consultant reveals the big picture

Covid-19 pandemic: Life Celebrant spreads light to the grieving

Covid-19 Lockdown: Psychologist reveals impact on mental health & how to cope

Covid-19 EXCLUSIVE: Disabled, vulnerable person speaks out

COVID-19 EXCLUSIVE: American High School Senior Speaks Out

The COVID-19 isolation makes an impact on people’s health and the planet’s conservation

The COVID-19 isolation makes an impact on people’s mental health

Covid-19 Lockdown: Psychologist reveals impact on mental health & how to cope

The Covid-19 Lockdown

On 23 March 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued a lockdown in the UK to combat against the Coronavirus pandemic that the world is now undergoing; furthermore, Dominic Raab, UK Foreign Secretary, announced on 16 April 2020 that the lockdown has been extended for another three weeks after being reevaluated.

“We still don’t have the infection rate down as far as we need to.

The worst thing that we can do right now is to ease up too soon, allow a second peak of the virus to hit NHS and hit the British people.”

Dominic Raab , UK Foreign Secretary

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also said, the lockdown will not be eased unless five conditions have been met:

  1. Making sure the NHS could cope.
  2. A “sustained and consistent” fall in the daily death rate.
  3. Reliable data showing the rate of infection was decreasing to “manageable levels.”
  4. Ensuring the supply of tests and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) could meet future demand.
  5. Being confident any adjustments would not risk a second peak.

While taking these very necessary measures in order to save more lives and protect the NHS, this has nonetheless put those who have apreexisting mental health condition at risk. Furthermore, many psychologists have taken the necessary actions that are needed in order to assist their clients as they struggle with their psychological issues.

How is the Covid-19 lockdown effecting people’s mental health?

Psychologist Charlotte Armitage, along with many other psychologists, has made herself available to her clients during the Covid-19 lockdown. Likewise, Armitage spoke with me about how the lockdown has impacted people’s mental health conditions.

Thus, Psychologist Armitage explained the ways in which she is assisting her clients during this pandemic.

“So, I’m using Zoom and the telephone to communicate with people. Some people it’s just not appropriate to communicate with at this time, because of their home environment as well. So it’s not necessarily an easy place for them to communicate, but other people, yeah they still want to talk. And they still need that regular consistent support and advice.”

Charlotte Armitage, Psychologist

Armitage also said, the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown has not only affected those who have preexisting mental health conditions, but it has also affected those who don’t.

“You know I think everybody is experiencing this on some level at some point throughout this virus pandemic. I don’t think it’s just people with preexisting mental health conditions that will be struggling at the moment.”

Charlotte Armitage, Psychologist

Psychologist Armitage said, the most common problem she is noticing is that people are finding it hard to adjust to the instability of this pandemic. Armitage said, “everybody feels unstable and that’s because the environment’s unstable.” Additionally, this instability has became a trigger for people who already have a mental health condition or those who have an underlying one.

“It’s a trigger, the instability is a trigger, and for people who need stability to remain psychologically well, this level of instability could be very unsettling for them and that kind of stuff can trigger off a mental health problem, so yeah I think it’s safe to say I’ve noticed it with everybody around me that people are struggling.”

Charlotte Armitage, Psychologist

Armitage said, even people who may have suffered from an addiction previously are being affected as those addictions are starting to resurface while undergoing lockdown.o.

“It’s possible that that addiction could come back, because they are finding that this is a stressful environment.”

Charlotte Armitage, Psychologist

Video featured below: You can hear more from Psychologist Charlotte Armitage about the psychological impacts of Covid-19 for people’s mental health.

Part 1 – Psychologist Charlotte Armitage explains mental health impact of Covid-19 lockdown

How to cope with Covid-19 lockdown?

As many people are feeling very unstable and anxious during this pandemic, they are trying to find ways to cope and function while in isolation.

Psychologist Charlotte Armitage spoke with me about the ways in which she recommends to people on how they can get through this pandemic, while also taking care of their mental health.

During our conversation, Psychologist Armitage gave so many different examples that can be very useful to those who are struggling with anxiety and depression, during the Covid-19 lockdown. For example, doing just the simple things, such as deep breathing and being present in the moment, are just a few of the many recommendations she suggested.

Specifically, Armitage spoke with me about three techniques that she has recommended to her clients during this time Covid-19 lockdown that can be helpful: framing techniques, grounding techniques, and creating your own stress relief kit.

1. Framing techniques

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According to the Decision Lab, “the Framing effect is the principle that our choices are influenced by the way they are framed through different wordings, settings, and situations.” Therefore, by changing the ways in which we think or the words that we use, it could potentially be a positive change for those who are struggling.

Psychologist Armitage said, “You can look at framing by the way you view things, which is called cognitive restructuring.” Furthermore, she has noticed people using the framing technique on social media.

“I keep seeing posts that say, You are not stuck at home, you are safe at home.”

Charlotte Armitage, Psychologist

2. Grounding technique

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According to Living Well, “Grounding exercises are things you can do to bring yourself into contact with the present moment – the here and now. They can be quick strategies (like taking three deep “belly breaths”) or longer, more formal exercises (like meditation). Different strategies work for different people, and there is no “wrong” way to ground yourself. The main aim is to keep your mind and body connected and working together.”

Psychologist Armitage explained how to utilise the grounding technique for those who are struggling with their mental health while they are Covid-19 lockdown.

“You can do things called 5,4,3,2,1 – which is you name 5 things in the room that you can see, 4 things that you can touch, 3 things that you can hear, 2 things that you smell, and 1 thing you can taste. And that helps the senses of that down and brings you back to the space.”

Charlotte Armitage, Psychologist

3. Create your own stress relief kit

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According to the Mindful Living Network, “a stress relief kit is simple to make and can be a Mindful way to promote Mindful Health. It contains prepared tools and supplies that’ll stop stress in its tracks before it escalates. Having the right references and tools can help. An emergency stress relief kit is easy to put together and doesn’t cost much.”

Furthermore, Psychologist Armitage explained how to create a stress relief kit. A stress relief kit can be beneficial for a person and their psychological well-being in order to help them through the Covid-19 lockdown.

“It could have something that you like the smell of in there and you can have music in there or a sound – something you like the sound of, something you like the feel of that might feel nice in your hands, or even a nice picture. So it’s basically putting all of your defences into this bag. And whenever you find yourself really struggling you can go to it and you can pull out a picture and look at that. Or you can pull out things that smells nice or you can get the things that feels nice, like a blanket or whatever it is and you can, you know, just hold that, because that could be quite grounding for you.”

Charlotte Armitage, Psychologist

Video featured below: You can hear more from Psychologist Charlotte Armitage and her recommendations of coping with a mental health condition while in isolation of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Part 2: Psychologist gives tips on how to handle mental health during Covid-19 lockdown

As many anxiously await for the lockdown to be lifted and for the Coronavirus pandemic to be over, Psychologist say taking care of your own mental health during this time is crucial – help is still available and so are the resources.

Psychologist Charlotte Armitage said, if you are really struggling with your mental health and you need to speak to someone you can contact Mind at  0300 123 3393 or you can go to the Mind Website to find information on how to understand your anxiety, how to cope with your anxiety, how to distract yourself with soothing activities, and stories of other’s who struggle with their mental health as well.

The COVID-19 isolation makes an impact on people’s mental health

“Depression” by Emmalois is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 

As many countries undergo lockdown, because of the Coronavirus pandemic, there are many who fear isolation, specifically those who suffer from a mental health condition.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health condition. And as there are a number of people dying from the Coronavirus, many have already started to take their own lives, because of the fear of either contracting the Coronavirus, the fear of having the Coronavirus, or the fear of living in isolation.

So far in the UK, a young person from Birmingham (UK) has taken her own life, because she feared being in isolation. In Germany, a minister has taken his own life with the fear of contracting the Coronavirus. There have even been a few nurses across the UK that have taken their own lives, because they feared they had contracted the Coronavirus disease.

To further understand how other people are coping with isolation, while also trying to keep their mental health in check, I spoke with a couple of people who shared with me their struggles and how they are adapting to the Coronavirus way of life.

Single mother of three and owner of Hall Housekeeping, Sabrina Hall, spoke with me about the challenges she is now dealing with as she cares for her children, while also trying to take special care of one of her children who has a has a serious medical condition.

“Corbin, my son, actually had a really bad seizure last week. I had to completely communicate with the doctors over the phone through Zoom. And that was different. We had to schedule it and they had to ya know – I took my phone, let the doctors look at him. I had to take his vitals. Ya know all these things – I’m not a nurse or doctor. And I’m having to do all this to make sure my son is okay without having to take him to the hospital. ”

Sabrina Hall, owner of Hall Housekeeping

Hall also struggles to stay afloat, because her income has been affected due to the Coronavirus pandemic as she has lost quite a bit of house cleaning clients. Hall also said, trying to care for her children, while also keeping them calm during this time is very important; however, she has also found certain outlets that help her to also take care of her own well-being.

                Interview with Sabrina Hall on Mental Health during the Coronavirus

“I will get in the car and I will turn the radio on or YouTube on my phone and bluetooth it. And I listen to music, you know, sometimes I’ll take a drive and just drive and listen to music and praise God that he’s going to get us through this and that helps a lot.”

Sabrina Hall, owner of Hall Housekeeping

Freelance JournalistLaura Sanders, spoke with me about her anxiety and how she does not like being out of control of a situation. Sanders told me about how she has been affected since she began reporting on Coronavirus eight hours a day. Furthermore, she was also told that she needed to work from home, because of how dangerous this disease can be.

“It was a bit of a novelty to be told to work from home. Ya know, you don’t have to get up and get dressed to go somewhere. And then it went to the stage, this is really miserable, cause I’m not seeing my colleagues and working mobily and always reporting on the Coronavirus. So yeah, it drags you down, it does.

Laura Sanders, Freelance Journalist

Recently, Sanders was actually going to start reducing her antidepressants dosage; however, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, her and her doctor had decided that that would not be the best thing for her to do. Furthermore, Sanders offered some advice to those who suffer from anxiety during this Coronavirus pandemic.

            Interview with Laura Sanders on Mental Health during the Coronavirus

“It sounds very cliche, but exercise is really important. So even if you just get a YouTube video up and doing some yoga at home, that can really help. If you got a dog, that’s a perfect excuse to go out for a walk. A lot of people are cycling at the moment as well – just get on your bike and go somewhere. And switching off on social media is a big thing.”

Laura Sanders, Freelance Journalist

Help is still available

Because of this Coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has issued UK a lockdown for three weeks and may be subject to change. If you or someone you know are experiencing panic and anxiety as we await the unknown and though it seems like most people have stopped working, there are still many resources and help that is available. For example, you can either call a helpline, join in on an online group chat, or message someone for a one-to-one online chat.

If you or someone you know are experiencing panic and anxiety during this Coronavirus pandemic and need to speak with someone, please don’t hesitate to contact one of the free services that I have listed below.

Contact your local Samaritan

No matter the age, race, or gender – if you are experiencing panic and anxiety and need to talk to someone, you can contact someone through Samaritans at 116 123 or write them an email at – the response time is within 24 hours.

Are you Under 25?

If you are under 25, experiencing panic and anxiety, and need to talk to someone you can contact the MIX. The Mix offers many different resources – from discussion boards, group chats, and one-to-one chats. They, as well, provide many different articles, for example, “how to deal with corona- anxiety.”

Are you a man under 45?

If you are are male and are under 45 you can contact CALM – Campaign Against Living Miserably. In the UK, suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 45 and the cause of 18 deaths everyday, which is why CALM will continue to keep their helpline and web chat services open during the Coronavirus pandemic. You can reach CALM at 0800 58 58 58 or their webchat services from 5pm – midnight everyday.

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