By Robert Common, Managing Partner, The Beekeeper
The Beekeeper began its work almost exactly a year ago, as the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the world. It was at a time when many other wellbeing centres in Cambodia were closing, and many people wondered if we were wise to open our social enterprise at a time when the economy was in turmoil and many foreigners were leaving Cambodia. We believed our services – combining western-theory-based therapy and eastern philosophies – were needed more than ever, given the harm COVID-19 and the restrictions and economic damage would surely cause to the mental health of people in Cambodia.
We are so glad we pressed ahead. Hundreds of people have passed through our doors over the last year, coming to speak with our expert therapists or attend meditation, yoga or sound healing with our teachers. Many of them have said that The Beekeeper helped them to escape the stress of the last year and heal from it. We’ve had to close our doors more than once to ensure the safety of our customers, but always continued to provide online therapy to those in need. We’ve also used our social media channels to share free help and guidance for all Cambodians.
Now we believe the mental wellbeing of Cambodians is at greater risk than ever before. After a year where the economy has suffered enormously, but Cambodia has escaped the worst health consequences and restrictions that other countries have experienced, that’s all changed. Now we all face the heartbreak of seeing infections soaring across Cambodia, and new deaths reported every day. The Government’s decision to lock down Phnom Penh is the right decision for physical health, but it comes at a great cost to mental health.
It is now widely understood that lockdowns may protect people from viruses but they increase stress, anxiety and other mental health challenges. That’s why we are making extra efforts to ensure that we keep offering online therapy to those most in need, and are supporting our own staff to provide these services from their homes. If you feel the need to talk to an expert professional during these trying times, please do get in touch. However, we also want to reach people who may not want to open up to a therapist but do need support.
So from today we are going to be offering daily Lockdown Life Tips. Our therapists and teachers will be providing simple tips on how to look after your mental and physical mental health during the lockdown. We will seek to offer these in Khmer and English so that all people in Cambodia can benefit.
If you have ideas or resources which might help other people, feel free to get in touch on our social media pages or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Most importantly, please look after yourselves and each other during this time. We will all get through this, helped by the vaccines rolling out every day, but we must get through it without causing unnecessary harm to ourselves in the process. We want to help and hopefully provide a little bit of good advice and light in dark times.