SOLIHULL’s council leader is advocating the use of face masks in the fight against coronavirus.
Councillor Ian Courts also revealed he and his wife use them – while scientists debate their effectiveness.
In his latest newsletter, Coun Courts writes: “Another weekend of lockdown passes, albeit with some easing of lockdown restrictions.
“Reading the news and speaking to our local police teams, most people followed the guidelines and observed social distancing rules. As more businesses open, and we spend more time outside, the most important thing is that we continue to keep our distance from people.
“The use of personal face coverings is down to individual choice. Personally, I support using them. My wife and I both use home-made face coverings on our few essential trips out. I have to say that on these trips, we have sometimes been shocked at how many people, despite everything, are barely sticking to the minimum on social distancing. Please, abide by the minimum 2m physical distancing rules and help keep everyone safe.
“If you have any of the following symptoms – a high temperature, persistent cough or lose your sense of smell and/or taste, you need to stay at home and self-isolate. The taste/smell symptom has been added to the Covid-19 checklist.”
Coun Courts also writes about mental health during the pandemic in today’s newsletter.
He states: “This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and the focus is on kindness, something we have seen from all quarters of our society during this pandemic. As the weeks have progressed, it has become clear how important it is we continue to look after ourselves (both physically and mentally). We need to support each other during these difficult and uncertain times. Information and how to get involved and how to look after your mental health can be found on the Mental Health Foundation website.
“Our local Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group has launched a new mental health support service, a 24/7 telephone helpline. It offers confidential emotional help, guidance and reassurance to people of all ages and backgrounds, including key workers, who may be finding the current situation overwhelming.
“If you are experiencing mental health difficulties or need support with common issues such as stress, sadness, disrupted sleep and anxiety, call 0121 262 3555, any day or any time and speak to someone who can help.
“I was heartened to read a blog from one of our younger residents, Mia, who has been helped to adapt to this new world we find ourselves in.
“Solihull Action through Advocacy (SAtA), a local independent charity which for over 25 years has provided advocacy for people with learning disabilities and/or autism, has helped Mia cope with what for her were very challenging changes to her life.”