Memo's from Sophia Nicholls, Executive Secretary of ASNA.


Give us a hug!

One thing I have found challenging in this pandemic, are the behavioural changes we have had to adopt to prevent the spread of the deadly Covid 19.

I am known to be a Hugger! When I meet you I would often go in for a hug some cases, the response is amazing. In other cases I would be given a right hand and a 'no no... I am not a hugger..' and thats OK. I have always felt hugging gives a sense of vulnerability and also makes great connections with people, breaking down barriers. Either way, this pandemic has caused us to rethink the way we make human connections.

Research has shown the importance of the human touch and its effects on our health. An interesting study examining the effects of touch between loved ones, highlights the neurological benefits of touch towards managing stress. I discovered this excellent short video summarising the importance of touch. Check it out!

Matthew, my wonderful son and inspiration behind the charity ASNA - is finding this very difficult. He was born on 2.5.1996. He was diagnosed 3 days into his birth to have a genetic condition that resulted in his being blind with severe learning disabilities. Matthew communicates totally by touching. He needs the human direct contact. He is struggling with the whole zoom connections -he does not understand a disembodied voice coming from a cold metal box. This is difficult for him. He is learning to navigate the new normal but it is tough. Hugs are so important for him so when ever we get the chance to see him (within government restrictions) we spend most of the time hugging, kissing and giving him a head massage. He is in heaven!

Today is National Hugging day. A day to understand the importance of touch and hugging. I know it is difficult when it comes to strangers because of the pandemic yet, for the health of the nation, find someone you can hug today, let them know you care. People living with mental health issues ( 1 in 4 people) need to know its OK and that you are there for them. People, like Matthew, with learning disabilities thrive on hugs.

If possible, find someone today you can hug and make their life better. From me to you (emoji of a hug) Happy Hugging day!

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