Weekly update from Rotherham’s Director of Public Health, Teresa Roche

Rotherham's Director of Public Health, Teresa Roche
Rotherham's Director of Public Health, Teresa Roche.

I know my briefing last week started by saying thank you but I want to say this again. Thank you.

Your commitment to staying at home and keeping others safe is so important and you are making a difference. We need to keep this up and keep acting and behaving as if we have the virus. Let’s not give the virus opportunities to spread by reducing our efforts now.

My update this week is going to look a little closer at three important areas; observing Ramadan and religious worship safely, Working from Home and Mental Health Support.

Observing Ramadan and religious worship during COVID-19

We are now in the holy month of Ramadan and worshipers within our community may find it challenging to observe during the Covid-19 outbreak. However, it is very important that everyone continues to follow the public health guidelines at this time.  Moreover, the coronavirus restrictions are still likely to be in place by Eid and therefore the key message remains: stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives.

To help out in these difficult times, places of worship are finding new ways to broadcast over the internet and radio and this is a way to observe in the safety of your own home. Moreover, this year Ramadan Lectures and Quran recitations are being pre-recorded or livestreamed using Skype, Zoom or Facebook.

Contact your local place of worship to see what is available to you or seek further advice at the following links:

That said, Holy festivals and religious celebrations are often when communities come together to support those in need. Indeed, communities of all faiths should make use of online platforms and alternative approaches to communicate with family and friends and stick with government guidelines regarding social distancing. In this way you can continue to protect your family, friends and neighbours from this virus.

Working from home

Some of us may have experienced the occasional day working from home in the past. However, the norm for the last five weeks has been to adopt this as a new way of working for even more people. We have gone from working alongside colleagues and friends to working in isolation and we will be missing the social contact.

Consequently, we still need to take time to keep in touch with colleagues. Pick up the phone or have a video conference call; it can help break up the day and will keep you feeling connected.

It is also important to set up your workspace properly to avoid aches, pains and possible longer-term health issues in the future.

There are a range of resources and guidance to help with this available at the following websites; many people will be working without dedicated office space but there are some practical things you can do:

We also need to make sure that we have a good work life and home balance. Many people are juggling home schooling, caring responsibilities and work which makes things even more challenging.

It is so important that employees and employers keep talking to each other so that workers can be supported and their needs understood.

Make sure you switch off at the end of the day; it can be tempting to keep checking work phones and laptops but we all perform better if we have breaks.

Whilst we are all staying safe at home during the current coronavirus crisis, as well as remembering to keep well hydrated and maintain a healthy, balanced diet, it is more important than ever that we all stay as active as we can. Even a small amount of activity can have a positive impact on your physical and mental health, and there are plenty of things you can do at home – even everyday activities count!

Try to break up long periods of sitting, especially if working at home, by getting up and moving for at least five minutes every hour. You don't need any special equipment - activities such as doing the vacuuming, hanging out the washing, and mowing the lawn all count, or simply walking up and down the stairs a few times.  

There are lots of other ideas for how to stay active on the Yorkshire Sport website.

Mental Health Support

People of all ages are using this time to be creative and mentally stimulated; choirs coming together through social media, individuals sharing their artwork, people cooking together, others learning a new language and households exercising together. All these things are good for our mental health and wellbeing. You can find more practical tips on the “Every Mind Matters” website.


Please remember, national guidance and advice does change according to the evolving situation. I continue to recommend you to use the following two sites to keep yourselves updated:

Be kind to yourselves, be kind to each other, stay at home, saves lives in Rotherham and protect our NHS.


Published: 27th April 2020