Talking about Mental Health During the Coronavirus Outbreak
Posted by See Me, 24 March 2020
With everything going on right now it's more important than ever that we stay connected and carry on talking about mental health.
While we are rightly talking about and looking after our physical health, it can feel like it’s not the right time to talk about our mental health. But looking after our mental health is just as important as protecting our physical health, and it’s okay to talk about both.
If you’re finding yourself struggling with feelings of anxiety or panic right now, that is normal, this is an unprecedented time, and it's okay to talk about it. The more we talk about it, the less alone we'll feel. Looking after our mental health is just as important as our physical health. NHS Inform has some good information on what you need to do to keep yourself well.
We’ve also brought together some helpful guidance from our friends and partners on how to look after your mental health and those of the people around you. It is designed for people who are feeling anxious or worried about Coronavirus, or have been asked to stay at home or self isolate.
If you’re struggling with your mental health right now it’s important to find someone you trust to speak to about how you’re feeling. And if you’re worried about someone else who you might not be seeing, reach out, ask them if they’re okay and share this information with them.
Practical Advice from the Scottish Government:
- If you are worried that you may have contracted COVID-19, you can check your symptoms at NHS Inform. They will also be rolling out specific mental health advice on platforms such as NHS 24 and NHS Inform.
- In the meantime, you can take some simple steps to protect your mental health and to look after your loved ones:
- If you are feeling stressed or anxious, consider how you feel when you have constant exposure to media coverage and graphic news stories. Although it is important to stay informed, consider taking a break if you feel things are getting on top of you.
- NHS guidance encourages individuals who are displaying symptoms, and their families, to self-isolate. It is important that you try and stay as connected to your friends/family and co-workers as much as possible via skype, email, video-calling and telephone.
- Social media can be an excellent way to keep in touch with your loved ones. However, as with news coverage, you should be mindful of your use of social media. Use it to promote positive interactions, and put your device away if it starts to negatively affect your mood. Many smartphones allow you to set time limits for certain apps such as Facebook or Instagram.
- If you know someone who is self-isolating, contact them by telephone to offer a chat and to ask if they need anything brought to them. If you know a person who lives alone and who has no access to a telephone, you can help by safely reaching out to ensure they have what they need to survive this difficult time.
Other Information and Support:
We know that the current situation will be particularly worrying for specific groups of people, especially those who have existing mental health concerns. There are many great resources to help, here are some good examples including some where advice has been tailored to particular groups.
- NHS Inform has the Latest guidance about COVID-19 from NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government, including social distancing and stay at home advice. https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19
- The Mental Health Foundation provide generic advice including information on e.g. staying connected with family and friends; being active; tips on stress management and on keeping a daily routine https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/looking-after-your-mental-health-during-coronavirus-outbreak
- SAMH have created an online hub for mental health and Covid19, which collates useful information from across the internet for those seeking to gain information to help protect their mental health and wellbeing during these ongoing difficult times: https://www.samh.org.uk/about-mental-health/self-help-and-wellbeing/coronavirus-and-your-mental-wellbeing
- Mind have created an online resource for people who are feeling anxious and worried about coronavirus and social distancing: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/?fbclid=IwAR0LDMuB1hEEbHHMxC_73nfCbk3DvQW9oawXiDmAjUCChKcsO9Y1UjBjCKk
- For children and young people, YoungScot have published an online resource containing advice, and also links to other help and support: https://young.scot/campaigns/national/coronavirus
- For those suffering with an eating disorder, support and advice can be found here: https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/coronavirus
- For those with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), tips on how to keep well can be found here: https://www.ocduk.org/ocd-and-coronavirus-top-tips
- People with autism or carers of people with autism can contact Scottish Autism who provide advice via email and a call-back service: https://www.scottishautism.org
- The Royal Pharmaceutical Society Community pharmacists and their teams are doing their best during these difficult times to make sure that everyone gets the medicines they need. Help them to help you: https://www.rpharms.com/about-us/news/details/RPS-shares-advice-for-the-public-on-how-they-can-support-pharmacies.
- Eden Project Communities have joined forces with leaders from different sectors to launch the Community Action Response to encourage everyone to do what they can to support their communities, and particularly vulnerable and isolated people during the Covid-19 crisis: https://www.edenprojectcommunities.com/community-action-response
- The SCVO Community Assistance Directory is providing support to voluntary groups and the public during the current crisis. You can use the search function to find organisations that are able to offer non-medical help directly to people in your community: https://covid-19.scvo.org.uk
- Bipolar Scotland provides support to all of those affected by bipolar disorder. They'll be be making arrangements for online support groups during the Covid-19 crisis: https://www.bipolarscotland.org.uk
- Support in Mind have a dedicated section on their website for Covid-19 updates, guidance and tips on how to keep looking after your mental health. They'll also be providing all of their support services via phone or online: https://www.supportinmindscotland.org.uk/news/covid-19
- LGBT Health and Wellbeing will be keeping in touch and sharing content to help with the challenge of not having your usual social and personal connections or routine. They are also providing a free telephone befriending service for LGBTQ+ people over 50 who feel lonely and isolated: https://www.lgbthealth.org.uk
- Deaf Scotland aim to ensure that deaf people in Scotland can access services and information across all sectors of society: https://deafscotland.org
- Stigma Free Lanarkshire have tips, information and online resources to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing during this difficult time: http://www.elament.org.uk/lanarkshire-recovery-network/stigma-free-lanarkshire
- Paths for All have information on keeping active and advice on walking with social distancing: https://www.pathsforall.org.uk
Finally, to help us all with isolation we are using our Pass the Badge campaign to socially connect people, and show that it’s okay to talk about how we are feeling.
If you’re feeling alone right now, or you’re worried about people who are, visit passthebadge.co.uk, create your picture showing how you are right now and post on social media, using #PassTheBadge, to join in a conversation on mental health and how we’re feeling.
Then tag others so they can get involved. Just because we can’t be together in person, doesn’t mean we have to be alone.
Visit the website join in a conversation on our mental health and how we’re feeling.Find Out More