Mental wellbeing is always important
The Covid-19 pandemic is proving very stressful to all of us. This is an unprecedented situation which is fuelled by uncertainty, resulting in fear and anxiety. This can be overwhelming and can cause strong emotions.
We all react differently to stressful situations. How you will be responding to the pandemic will depend on a variety of factors. We need to be mindful at all times that despite us all being in the same situation, we are all facing different challenges that are personal to each of us.
In particular, you are likely to have fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones. You may also be feeling anxious about possible financial implications in the short and longer term.
You may be experiencing the following:
- Changes in sleeping or eating patterns
- Difficulty concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Psychosomatic symptoms - fear that any symptom may signal that you have COVID-19
It is important to remember that you are having a normal reaction to an abnormal event, but if you need more support local mental health organisations are listed on this page.
Taking good care of yourself, your friends and your family can help you cope.
- Take regular breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories about the pandemic - including limiting social media. Hearing about it repeatedly can be upsetting and fuel anxiety and worry. Remember, not everything you read will be accurate. Try to stick to national news broadcasts (for example the BBC) and information from Public Health England
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths; try to eat healthy, well balanced meals, exercise, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol and drugs
- Make time to focus on activities you enjoy, whilst acknowledging any restrictions that are upon us
- Maintain contacts with others and try to talk with people you trust about your worries and how you are feeling. It is likely that these will be shared worries. Try to avoid exacerbating each other's anxieties by keeping to the facts, as we know them, and being mindful of our tendency get caught up in negative thought patterns
- Find ways to let off steam- use humour and make an effort to notice any positive signs or messages e.g. proactive support and acts of kindness shown by others
- Separate what is in your control and what is not. Focus on those things you can control - such as keeping good hygiene
You might need to think a bit more about how to keep up your mental wellbeing at the current time. The Every Mind Matters website provides simple tips and advice to start taking better care of your mental health. Here are a few:
- Try to focus on the things you can control - There are lots of things you can control such as your behaviour, who you speak to and who you get information from
- Keep healthy - Eat healthy, well balanced meals, don't drink too much alcohol
- Learn new skills - use this time to take up a new hobby, like drawing there are plenty of videos on Youtube to help you with this and many universities are offering online courses for free. You could also give your garden lots of attention or read that book you have been meaning to read
- Volunteer - You can volunteer while staying at home either directly for a local organisation or through Talk Community. You can help your friends and family by providing a friendly ear during these difficult times either over the phone or by social media Volunteer to support your community
- Keep exercising - Exercise helps to keep you both physically and mentally well. Try to do some exercise that builds strength and some that gets your heart beating faster. Join in with Halo Leisure's online exercises
- Connect with other people - Through social media, telephone or video calls, through letters or even the TV and radio. Be careful not to spend too much time watching or reading news of the outbreak as it can make you anxious. If you feel you are being affected then limit this to one or two times a day
- Play games with your friends and family online - Many games are available like scrabble, monopoly and UNO
- Take notice - Paying more attention to the present moment can improve your mental wellbeing. This includes your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. This is sometimes called mindfulness
- Ask for help - To help you follow Government guidance ask for help from friends and family, or request support online
Mental health support
24 hour support is available if you currently access mental health services. Please call using one of the following numbers:
- Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm, please contact the team or service who currently provide your care, their details are on the website
- Monday to Friday, 5pm - 9am and 24 hours on weekends and bank holidays, please call 01905 681915 (24 hours)
If you are not currently in contact with any mental health services, please call 01905 681915 (24 hours)
The following local mental health organisations can also offer support:
- Mental Health Matters Call helpline:0800 015 7271 for Herefordshire
- Mental Health Support Call:01905 681915 dedicated team in Herefordshire callers do not have to be patients
- Herefordshire Mind Call: 01432 271643
- Samaritans Call: 116 123
- Talk2gether NHS Call:0800 073 2200
Mental health help and guides
- Mental Health Foundation's top tips - Looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak
- Staying well at home - Read MIND's checklist to prepare for staying well while at home
- Protecting your mental health - If you are concerned about your mental health you can explore your feelings using the NHS emotion tracker. The tracker will help you to identify activities or resources to help
- Feeling lonely - Useful suggestions if you are feeling lonely while self-isolating
- Preparing for social distancing and self-isolation - self-help books and resources from MIND
- Action for Happiness is a movement of people committed to building a happier and more caring society, they having things like a coping calendar available on their website
Children's mental health
Also see our pages for helping support your child's mental wellbeing during this time.