Coronavirus and mental health – what can I do?

The current Coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic may cause you to feel worried, anxious, or scared. Read Healthwatch England's seven steps to looking after your wellbeing while staying informed.
Icons representing mental health, and confusion.

1. Seek accurate information from legitimate sources

Try to only read information about Coronavirus from official sources:

NHS Government Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust

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. There are resources available to help you have these conversations:

  • The World Health Organisation has created advice on how to help children cope during coronavirus. 
  • The Children's Commissioner has created a Children's Guide to Coronavirus to help parents explain the situation.
  • If you are concerned about a young person's mental health, YoungMinds has specific advice, information and support for parents and carers  - including a parents' helpline staffed by trained advisors.

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. 

Find out more

The information in this article was originally sourced from the Mental Health Foundation. 

Where can you get further mental health support?

Samaritans

If you need to speak to someone you can call the Samaritans. They're always open and are there to listen.

08457 90 90 90

Cruse

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 

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 

Young Minds is a mental health charity for children and young people.

NHS in Mind

NHS in Mind is a free platform containing 8 easy-to-access, short interventions to help NHS staff alleviate and combat high anxiety, panic and fatigue at this time. 

Mental Health Europe 

Mental Health Europe is the largest independent network organisation representing mental health users, professionals and service providers across Europe.

You can contact Healthwatch Hillingdon from 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday if you need any advice and guidance:

01895 272 997

07957667776 (SMS only)

office@healthwatchhillingdon.org.uk

Or you can use the form on the Contact us page.