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Screenshot of an MS Friends zoom chat

Bringing together young people with MS during lockdown

Amy Thompson

Life during this COVID-19 pandemic is hard for everyone. While it’s vital that we follow social distancing rules, it’s important to protect our mental health. One of the best ways we can do this is to stay connected.

When I was diagnosed with MS I felt alone

Like everyone else, I’m keeping in touch with my family and friends via calls, video chats and social media. But what about when it comes to MS? My family and friends are extremely supportive, but I know it’s sometimes hard for them to fully understand.

I can write about it and talk about it, but the reality is, unless you have MS you can’t fully understand what someone is experiencing.

When I was diagnosed, I felt so alone. And this is what led me to start my young persons’ support group 'MS Together'. And I can't tell you how much it’s helped me (and hopefully others) over the last few challenging weeks.

Online support for young people with MS

MS Together is an online support group for people aged 18-35 living with MS across the UK and Ireland. It's an amazing group of people which started out with 6 girls who individually reached out to me because of my blog.

After getting to know them, I asked these girls if they would like to be part of a group with other young likeminded people. That’s where MS Together was born, and now there are 550 of us!
At the moment we have a Facebook group page where we post our stories and discussion points. There’s also an optional Whatsapp group chat which is a bit more active. We re-named it ‘Multiple Savages’ because for the most part, we all just gossip, joke around and occasionally talk about MS!

Zoom chat screenshot of Amy Thompson and other MS Friends

Meeting up during lockdown

I usually organise meetups every 2 months but, of course, that’s not possible at the moment. So, instead, I decided to set up weekly zoom meetups. The first and second week I made a quiz for everyone and in the last 2 weeks, we have taken part as a team in Scott Mills pub quiz for the MS Society.

The aim each week has been to beat our score from the previous week. It's been lovely to meet so many of the group via zoom and we are already planning our next meet up (whenever it will be).
Staying connected is so important, especially during a time like this. Hearing how other people are feeling and dealing with their MS during the COVID-19 outbreak can be very helpful and affirming.
This whole situation hasn't been easy but having each other has made it that little bit easier.

You can become a member of MS Together by visiting the group's Facebook page or emailing [email protected].