Online event to tackle coronavirus anxiety and isolation

The speakers at the Lowestoft Conference 2019. Picture: Tod Sullivan

The speakers at the Lowestoft Conference 2019. Picture: Tod Sullivan - Credit: Archant

An innovative conference will return this weekend – and it looks set to be the “biggest ever.”

For the past couple of years Lowestoft’s mental health ambassador, Tod Sullivan, has been involved in organising a series of free events across Waveney and Norfolk that feature inspiring talks from national and local campaigners.

And this Saturday, April 18 at 6pm, shedding the light on anxiety and isolation during Coronavirus will be the focus for the latest Lowestoft Conference, as it is held live on Facebook.

Tod Sullivan at the Lowestoft Conference 2018. Picture: Charlie Ketchen

Tod Sullivan at the Lowestoft Conference 2018. Picture: Charlie Ketchen - Credit: Archant

In these trying times quarantine and isolation have been vitally important in preventing the spread of the virus.

However, this daily disruption can also be daunting, as people deal with coronavirus anxiety.

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The event is being hosted on ‘Josh and Tod’s Coronavirus Mental Health Resilience Gathering’ Facebook page and Nacoa – The National Association for Children of Alcoholics – as Mr Sullivan teams up with nationally renowned public speaker Josh Connolly.

It will also be broadcast by national charity Nacoa and the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, after Mr Sullivan was awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship in 2018.

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Ahead of this weekend’s live online conference, Mr Sullivan said: “Our next mental health conference will be our biggest ever as it’s online via Facebook Live.

“By holding it online on our Facebook page from 6pm on April 18 we will have guests from the USA and all of our very best speakers from around the world, plus amazing people speaking again.”

The Facebook page ‘Josh and Tod’s Coronavirus Mental Health Resilience Gathering’ has been sharing ideas on “having fun, being calm and becoming mentally resilient” to the pressures of coronavirus.

It has seen online make up tutorials, workout sessions and music shared alongside key messages.

Mr Sullivan said: “If you, people around you, or groups you are involved with are troubled by anxiety at the moment please know it’s a normal, though frightening, response to fear.”

Encouraging people to “stay safe, connected and heard,” he said: “It is important to keep in touch and I am seeing wonderful things happening. A real community spirit has been shown.“

Online conference

This Saturday’s event is being held almost exactly two years on from the inaugural Lowestoft Conference.

Mr Sullivan said: “It has been amazing. A number of groups have been established in Lowestoft during this time and they are now fully running themselves.”

In his ambassadorial role, he has given a number of talks and coaching sessions to businesses and groups across Waveney.

He added: “The Lowestoft model of the Lowestoft Conference is showcasing the amazing work going on and being done in the town and this is being shared all over.”

With Dan Biddle, a survivor of the 7/7 terror attacks in London, among those set to speak alongside specialists, an organisational lead and more, Mr Sullivan said: “A lot of people are interested in what we are doing.

“There has been numerous examples of families keeping in touch through video calls and people helping in the community.

“The key thing people need to do is to listen to themselves and give things a go.”

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