Coronavirus is affecting my mental health – what can I do?
1. Seek accurate information from legitimate sources
Try to only read information about Coronavirus from official sources:
Only reading credible sources of information can help you avoid the fear and panic that misinformation may cause, which can fuel anxiety. Having access to good quality information about the virus can help you feel more in control.
2. Try to avoid excessive exposure to media coverage
Constantly monitoring the news and your social media feeds about COVID-19 can intensify feelings of worry and distress. It’s important to find a balance while keeping informed. If you find the news is making you feel stressed, set boundaries for how much news you read, watch or listen to. For example, turn off phone notifications from news apps.
3. Look after yourself
It's normal to feel vulnerable and overwhelmed as we read news about the outbreak. Focus on the things you can control, instead of those you can't. Where possible, maintain your daily routine, and prioritise your wellbeing and mental health.
4. Stay connected and reach out to others
Keeping in touch with your friends and family and talking through your concerns can help ease the stress caused by COVID-19. Check in with people who you know may be worried or live alone. If you are very worried, contact a helpline for emotional support.
5. Talk to your children
It's equally important to help children cope with stress too. Answer their questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that children can understand, without causing them alarm.
The World Health Organisation have created advice on how to help children cope with stress during Coronavirus.
6. Don’t make assumptions
It's important not to judge people and avoid jumping to conclusions about who is responsible for the spread of the disease. The virus can affect anyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or sex.
7. Stay well while self-isolating
If you are showing symptoms or have the virus, you will be required to self-isolate and stay away from other people. This may seem like a daunting prospect, but keep in mind that this is only temporary.
It is important to create a daily routine that prioritises looking after yourself, such as catching up on sleep.
There are still many ways to stay connected to the people who matter to you, digitally, or on the phone. When staying in touch with friends on social media, try not to share content that sensationalises things. Your friends may be worried too. Only share content from trusted sources.
Remember to also look after your wider health needs, such as having enough prescription medicines available to you.
If you need ideas about how to support your wellbeing, Mind, the mental health charity, have put together practical tips to help you.
The information in this article was originally sourced from the Mental Health Foundation.
Where can you get further mental health support?
Across Kent we have a series of mental health forums dedicated to hearing your feedback about mental health services. All of these organisations also offer mental health support to you and people in your community. All of them are offering online and telephone support during the outbreak - they'd love to hear from you.
Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley, covered by Megan CIC Contact us on 01634 402077 or email: email@example.com
Maidstone, covered by Involve. Call 03000 810005 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sevenoaks, Tonbridge & Malling and Tunbridge Wells, covered by Mental Health Resource Contact Jill Grainger on 07989 219185 or email email@example.com
Ashford, Thanet and Dover, covered by Speak Up CIC. Call 01843 448384 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Swale, covered by Swale User Representation Forum, Rethink. Contact Paul on tel. 01474 330282 or email email@example.com
Canterbury, Folkestone and Hythe, covered by Take Off. Call 01227 788211 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Support from further afield
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.