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Maintaining Connexions through COVID-19

Nick is an Integrated Dual Diagnosis Worker with Jesuit Social Services

Nick Pace has been working with Tyler for nearly all of the three years he has been a practitioner with Connexions. During this time, he’s found how one of his personal values–transparency–is shared within the program.

Nick also appreciates how Connexions allows time to forge a truly transparent and supportive relationship.“Tyler and I are benefiting from having known each other for so long and having been through a fair bit together. We’re at a crucial point of Tyler’s recovery now.”

Another key to the success of the program involves practitioners being able to meet young people wherever they feel safest and is convenient for them. Nick explains why this is crucial: “Expecting someone to show up in an office, in a room at a specific time when someone experiencing lots of different complexities and difficulties in their life, almost it sets them up to fail again. So, I regularly go to see Tyler, to drive out to his location. Being able to drive out and reach out as far as we can is so important.”

When more severe COVID-19 restrictions came in the team at Connexions had to change the way they worked. To ensure that vital support was provided for young people already in the program, and for the increase in young people referred to the program, Connexions introduced a telephone counselling support service.

There have been some surprisingly positive outcomes associated with this approach. Practitioners have observed the increased willingness of some participants to engage in a deeper therapeutic intervention.

Nick recognises that he has been able to maintain effective contact with Tyler because they have built up a strong relationship over time, however, he acknowledges that restrictions have had an impact on new referrals and have disadvantaged some young people with limited access to technology.

As restrictions are easing up Connexions can return to former ways of working too. “It does provide more opportunity to tailor our responses and connect with people in a way that suits them,” says Nick.