Help to maintain good mental health in coronavirus pandemic

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The coronavirus pandemic is impacting on everyone’s daily lives – and when lots of things change at once it’s easy for people to feel overwhelmed.

Public Health England has published new advice on taking care of our mental wellbeing to help keep us feeling good and functioning well. The advice, available at https://bit.ly/2UPUT8d, covers everything from staying in touch with loved ones, helping and supporting others, talking about worries and managing difficult feelings to looking after your physical wellbeing, keeping your mind active, getting a good night's sleep, developing a new daily routine and setting goals to create sense of control and purpose. There is also information about managing physical symptoms triggered by stress and anxiety, and advice for people with specific mental health needs, people with disabilities and people living with dementia.

Every Mind Matters – www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters – provides advice to start taking better care of your mental health, including 10 simple things people can do to deal with anxiety about the coronavirus outbreak.

The City of Wolverhampton Council has also launched its Stay Safe, Be Kind campaign offering clear and simple advice about how people can help themselves, and how they can support others who may be particularly vulnerable at this time. Stay Safe, Be Kind includes information about safe at home and looking after your physical and mental health, and will be regularly updated with local and national resources to support you. For more information, please visit www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/stay-safe-be-kind.

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "These are difficult times for everyone, and it's natural to feel worried or anxious. However, there are steps we can take to help ourselves and others to prevent those feelings from becoming more serious. It may be difficult, but by following the Government's guidance on social distancing or staying at home, you are helping to protect yourself, your family, the NHS and your community and stopping the spread of coronavirus. During this time, you might be lonely, bored or frustrated, and feel anxious or low. But it’s important that you take care of your mind as well as your body and get further support if you need it. We should also make sure we check up on friends, family and neighbours over the phone or online, and pursue activities we can do at home in line with the Government’s social distancing guidance. By adopting a new routine, setting goals, eating healthily and maintaining physical activity, we can stay in good mental health throughout this national emergency."

People should aim to get at least two and a half hours of moderate physical activity a week, or around 20 to 30 minutes a day. Public Health England has a range of videos to follow for home workouts to help people reach their exercise goals. The NHS Live Well website, www.nhs.uk/live-well, gives more intensive workout suggestions that target different parts of your body like going to the gym.

The NHS website also offers self-assessment, audio guides and practical tools if you are experiencing stress, feelings of anxiety or low mood, available at www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression.

If you are still struggling and it is affecting your daily life, please go to 111.nhs.uk. If you have no internet access, call NHS 111.

If you are feeling very low and need to speak to someone, the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at www.samaritans.org and on 116 123 by telephone. Samaritans can also be emailed at jo@samaritans.org.

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus and on the council’s own coronavirus pages at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/coronavirus. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves and their families from coronavirus from the NHS at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.