The Mental Health Foundation is part of the national mental health response providing support to address the mental health and psychosocial aspects of the Coronavirus outbreak, alongside colleagues at Public Health England and the Department of Health and Social Care.
Infectious disease outbreaks, like the current Coronavirus (Covid 19), can be scary and can affect our mental health. While it is important to stay informed, there are also many things we can do to support and manage our wellbeing during such times.
The Mental Health Foundation have got some tips we hope will help you, your friends and your family to look after your mental health at a time when there is much discussion of potential threats to our physical health.
Create a new daily routine that prioritises looking after yourself. You could try reading more or watching movies, having an exercise routine, trying new relaxation techniques, or finding new knowledge on the internet. Try and rest and view this as a new if unusual experience, that might have its benefits.
Make sure your wider health needs are being looked after such as having enough prescription medicines available to you.
Try to avoid speculation and look up reputable sources on the outbreak - Rumour and speculation can fuel anxiety. Having access to good quality information about the virus can help you feel more in control.
Try to stay connected - At times of stress, we work better in company and with support. Try and keep in touch with your friends and family, by telephone, email or social media, or contact a helpline for emotional support.
You may like to focus on the things you can do if you feel able to:
eat a balanced diet
Talk to your children - Involving our family and children in our plans for good health is essential. We need be alert to and ask children what they have heard about the outbreak and support them, without causing them alarm.
Try to anticipate distress - It is OK to feel vulnerable and overwhelmed as we read news about the outbreak, especially if you have experienced trauma or a mental health problem in the past, or if you have a long-term physical health condition that makes you more vulnerable to the effects of the coronavirus.
Try not to make assumptions - Don’t judge people and avoid jumping to conclusions about who is responsible for the spread of the disease. The Coronavirus can affect anyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity or sex.
Try to manage how you follow the outbreak in the media - There is extensive news coverage about the outbreak. If you find that the news is causing you huge stress, it’s important to find a balance.
It’s best that you don’t avoid all news and that you keep informing and educating yourself, but limit your news intake if it is bothering you.
Where can you get further mental health support?
If you need to speak to someone you can call the Samaritans. They're always open and are there to listen.
Cruse Bereavement Care provide bereavement support to people across the UK. Talk of death in the news and online can be distressing if you're already struggling with grief. If you need someone to talk to you can call the Cruse helpline. You can also talk to them if you've been bereaved as a result of Coronavirus.
0808 808 1677 - Monday-Friday 9.30-5pm (excluding bank holidays), with extended hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, when they're open until 8pm.
Mind is a mental health charity which provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.
Mental Health Foundation
The UK's charity for everyone's mental health, promoting good mental health for all.
Young Minds is a mental health charity for children and young people.
Mental Health Europe
Mental Health Europe is the largest independent network organisation representing mental health users, professionals and service providers across Europe.