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Offering a service in a Coronavirus climate...

Apheideo Associates team are committed to continuing working in the current circumstances around the management of the coronavirus in order to support employees who are facing uncertainty in uncertain times. We believe that ordinarily face to face engagement in counselling is in nearly all cases the most effective form of therapeutic support in the 'talking therapies'. However, having taken recent advice and observing government recommendations our office is currently open to some face to face therapeutic engagement . We recognise that there are anxieties around contact for many and there already is much evidence to suggest that there have been significant mental health issues arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic. As an alternative we are continuing to offer phone consultation or FaceTime / Skype / Teams calls by arrangement. Please use email/'phone or text - contact (details below) to make these arrangements as required. You can still contact us at any time - we operate a 24 - hour service. For some, particularly where there is a radical change of routine, there may be real challenges in mental health terms. For others the current circumstances may well redirect thinking towards a more positive means of dealing with the current crisis - that may well raise their spirits. Whatever the circumstances if you feel you need support don't hesitate to contact us and we will respond by the most appropriate means.

                                                                                                    Updated and reviewed 16 June 2022


Coping with Coronavirus anxiety

Coping with any anxiety involves thinking and acting in realistic, healthy ways.

Trying to cope with the anxiety, fear and worry we all feel about the potential impact of the coronavirus on us and our families requires a similar approach.


Healthy Thinking...

1. Focus on what you can control and avoid catastrophising about what you have no control over.

2. Focus on the present, take one day at a time and avoid getting concerned about a future no-one can accurately predict.

3. Anxiety feeds on uncertainty and unpredictability. Therefore plan as much structure and order into your day as you can.

Healthy Behaviours...

1. Stay informed but don’t get too fixated on the endless discussion of the virus in the media. One mental health expert has suggested limiting ourselves to two 15 minute reliable news sessions each day. Avoid the misinformation and rumour swirling around on social media.

2. Take care of yourself. This involves healthy eating, regular sleep patterns and appropriate physical exercise like walking.

3. Mental activity: anything that takes your mind away from worrying about the challenges presented by the virus. Activities like reading, crosswords, board games, painting and gardening are all potentially helpful. Be kind to yourself and make time for you to engage in meaningful, enjoyable activities.

4. Talk to others about your feelings and how you are trying to cope with them using phone, video or social media. This also involves listening: are there any coping strategies you can learn from others? However don’t let coronavirus dominate every conversation.

5. Think of others. Can you make contact with someone who would appreciate a call or can you offer help and support to someone who has to self-isolate?

6. For Belfast City Council employees read the BCC Pandemic FAQs Document or ask your manager (who will have a copy of the document) for relevant information. It will provide you with accurate information on the current BCC approach to issues such as absence, working from home and caring responsibilities.

7. If you wish to discuss your anxieties with a member of the Employee Counselling Team you can self-refer by contacting Dr Selwyn Black (02890511360 / 07921501299, email, or text) for a phone consultation or a facetime/skype call with a member of the team.

(produced by Oliver Boylan, Senior Associate and Lead Trainer - 7th March 2022)


Groups at high and moderate risk of severe illness from Covid-19


People at high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable)

You may be at high risk from coronavirus if you:

  • have had an organ transplant
  • are having chemotherapy or antibody treatment for cancer, including immunotherapy
  • are having an intense course of radiotherapy (radical radiotherapy) for lung cancer
  • are having targeted cancer treatments that can affect the immune system (such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors)
  • have blood or bone marrow cancer (such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma)
  • have had a bone marrow or stem cell transplant in the past 6 months, or are still taking immunosuppressant medicine
  • have been told by a doctor you have a severe lung condition (such as cystic fibrosis, severe asthma or severe COPD)
  • have a condition that means you have a very high risk of getting infections (such as SCID or sickle cell)
  • are taking medicine that makes you much more likely to get infections (such as high doses of steroids or immunosuppressant medicine)
  • have a serious heart condition and are pregnant
  • have a problem with your spleen or your spleen has been removed (splenectomy)
  • are an adult with Down's syndrome
  • are an adult who is having dialysis or has severe (stage 5) long-term kidney disease
  • have been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, based on clinical judgement and an assessment of your needs

If you're at high risk from coronavirus, you should have received a letter from the NHS. Speak to your GP or hospital care team if you have not been contacted and think you should have been.

People at moderate risk (clinically vulnerable)

People at moderate risk from coronavirus include people who:

  • are 70 or older
  • have a lung condition that's not severe (such as asthma, COPD, emphysema or bronchitis)
  • have heart disease (such as heart failure)
  • have diabetes
  • have chronic kidney disease
  • have liver disease (such as hepatitis)
  • have a condition affecting the brain or nerves (such as Parkinson's disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy)
  • have a condition that means they have a high risk of getting infections
  • are taking medicine that can affect the immune system (such as low doses of steroids)
  • are very obese (a BMI of 40 or above)
  • are pregnant – see advice about pregnancy and coronavirus

Unlike people at high risk, you will not get a letter from the NHS. What to do if you're at moderate risk If you're at moderate risk from coronavirus, the advice for you depends on the rules where you live. The advice is based on the level of risk in your area. These levels are called local restriction tiers.

Find out about local restriction tiers on GOV.UK

This appeared on a Facebook post from BelievePHQ, and in the current climate contains some very helpful advice...


5 steps to working safely:







Everyone is naturally concerned about the Virus at this time so additional attention should be directed at mental health issues.

  • Employers and employees have the common interests of staying safe and remaining in business and as such there should be open, calm and constructive dialogue on how to resolve problems in a calm and structured way.
  • Employers and line managers are advised to be alert to mood or behavioural changes in employees and talk to them compassionately about problems.
  • Employers and Trades Unions will collaborate to promote their existing range of support networks available to employees and members, and where appropriate publicise Employee Assistance Programmes, Union Support Schemes and other government and third sector Mental Wellbeing resources. Employers should signpost online training aids to promote mental health and wellbeing.

The Apheideo clinical team comprises of a Manager, a supervisor, 4 team members with a gender balance of 2 males and 2 females. Therefore, the team can meet employee requests for a counsellor of a specific gender and the team is large enough to allow for separate counsellors or employee transfer from one counsellor to another should that situation arise. All counsellors are qualified in counselling and have specialist training in mentoring, mediation, crisis intervention and dealing with psychological trauma, and some have notably advanced qualifications in these areas. Between the team they have 150 years of experience of delivering employee counselling and related services in a range of contexts. In addition, Apheideo Associates offers a counselling team that have substantial experience in dealing with equality and diversity issues – race, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion or belief, gender and human rights. Apheideo Associates is committed to ensuring that, as far as is reasonably practicable, the way we provide services to employees and the way we manage our staff reflects their individual needs and does not discriminate against individuals or groups on any grounds. Individually, the team bring a wealth of experience significantly beyond the minimum standards required by most counselling organisations in terms of both qualifications and background. Alongside our roles as employee counsellors, we have held significant professional profiles in roles that are complimentary to the delivery of an employee counselling service – pastoral care, human resource management, senior and executive management and teaching from Secondary through to Higher Education levels. Apheideo Associates have a professional reputation that has both national and international influence in their professional disciplines.

Get in touch!


Apheideo Associates

Regus Business Centre

Forsyth House

Cromac Street

Belfast BT2 8LA


Mon-Fri: 9:00am - 5:00pm


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