A pandemic isn’t just a physical health issue; it’s definitely a mental health issue as well.
As circumstances develop due to coronavirus, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by uncertainty. We will all have worries and experience disruption to daily life, and this will be even more difficult to deal with for those who already struggle with mental health.
In times of uncertainty, it’s more important than ever that we take care of our mental health and look out for people living with mental illness. While the current circumstances make this more challenging, even small gestures and actions can make a difference.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists have detailed specific support and advice for patients and carers for those who suffer with their mental health at this time, please access this through the link below:
I have also made some comments and included resources below that will hopefully help us take care of ourselves and others and get through this period together.
Looking after your mental health while you have to stay at home
It may help to try and see this as a different period of time in your life, and not necessarily a bad one, even if it does not feel that way now. It has meant a different rhythm of life but also a chance to be in touch with others in different ways than usual. Some of the usual social stresses and expectations have been removed and this may change people’s perceptions of what is important in society.
Be in touch with other people regularly on social media, e-mail or on the phone, as they are still good ways of being close to the people who matter to you.
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.
You can get up-to-date information and advice on the virus here:
Anxiety and panic attacks
Information about how anxiety can affect us, tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family can be found below:
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. https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/your-mental-health/getting-help#accordion-content-339-0
You may like to focus on the things you can do if you feel able to
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.
It’s important to acknowledge these feelings and remind each other to look after our physical and mental health. We should also be aware of and avoid increasing habits that may not be helpful in the long term, like smoking and drinking.
Try and reassure people you know who may be worried and check in with people who you know are living alone.
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 is 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.
I hope we can all look after each other and ourselves and look forward to seeing my current and new clients in the near future.