A letter from lockdown

This week our clients have been demystifying Coronavirus, and introducing us to some of the remarkable people working to protect us. Dr Michael Moseley returned to our screens this week with the second part of his Coronavirus Special for BBC Two’s Horizon series. Dr Chris van Tulleken and Dr Hannah join Michael in investigating the latest research as well as the UK’s vital questions about the new virus and the pandemic it has created. And, if you missed this, you can still watch him examining the facts and science behind COVID-19 on BBC iPlayer.

Dr Chris George has been championing the real heroes of the pandemic this week, taking part in the MANOR live panel conversation as part of their Strong Not Silent Campaign. The talk aims to unite veterans from the battlefield, including Jason Carl Fox and Aldo Kane, as well as frontline NHS doctors battling the virus, to share their experiences and lessons learned. These honest and noble accounts shed light on the reality of trauma and we’re very proud to see Chris as an advocate for this discussion. In addition, if you wish to stay informed with the latest updates on the virus, you can catch up with Chris’s Instagram LIVE with immunologist, Dr Jenna, for an important review on the current status of immunity to the illness.

It is clear that in these testing times it’s more important than ever to speak up and talk openly about mental health. This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and this year’s theme is kindness. You can find plenty of resources and activities here. Our wonderful clients have been creating uplifting content in recognition of the week. Katy Riddell has created a video called ‘The Kittens of Kindness‘ which is a sweet and soothing behind the scenes to her drawing process, and in it she explains that taking some time out to be creative can be calming and cathartic.

Poorna Bell has also written an incredibly powerful and important open letter for the Huffington Post five years after her husband Rob passed away. The piece reaches out to anyone contemplating suicide or struggling with their mental health, particularly at the moment, and in it Poorna reminds us that recovery can happen and asks us all to hold on and stay in the world.

This Mental Health Awareness Week publishers have been highlighting some of our favourite books that explore mental health issues. Sophie Kinsella’s YA debut Finding Audrey is an insightful tale of a young woman coping with Social Anxiety Disorder. The book has been selected as a Kindle Daily Deal in the UK on Saturday 23rd March and is an uplifting and inspiring read about a young girl’s journey to recovery.

It’s also definitely worth revisiting Tanya Byron and Claudia Winkleman’s remarkable podcast How Did We Get Here? Exploring various topics of mental health and personal trauma faced by real-life parents, the podcast is a passionate, insightful and moving experience with clear outcomes to each episode.

In other extraordinary and uplifting news, our very own Portable Priest has proven that you should never underestimate the power of your actions. Whilst Pat Allerton has been roaming the streets of London, blasting hymns and lifting spirits, Warner Music have caught sight of his impact and are re-releasing ‘Amazing Grace’ with Judy Collins and a Global Choir on Friday 29th May. Anyone can be a part of this once in a lifetime opportunity by visiting the Global Virtual Choir website and recording yourself singing Verse 3 or 5 of Amazing Grace. All proceeds go to the World Health Organisation’s Solidarity Response Fund.

For all those who have been flexing their culinary muscles during lockdown Max Halley has been cooking up a storm on Sunday Brunch for British Sandwich week, a week-long celebration of the nation’s greatest food to go, and the most iconic of them all, the Sandwich. And, if you missed Max making his famous BLT, you can watch and cook-a-long on Channel 4 On Demand.

Not to be deterred by the lockdown, The Hay Festival has gone entirely digital this year, and is also completely free. There is plenty of fantastic content, including a talk from our own John Simpson and Bettany Hughes about what it means when libraries become targets during conflicts and the effect on communities. They’ll be joined by Paul Boateng and Edmund de Waal on Monday 25th May.

Until next week…

With all our best wishes,

The Soho Agency Team