Looking after your mental health and wellbeing
We understand that COVID-19 (coronavirus) has created uncertainty and anxiety, the constant news can feel overwhelming. We are adjusting to a different way of life, with children off school, many people not working or working from home, as well as not seeing family, friends and colleagues.
This anxiety is natural, and we are all feeling it. Fortunately, there are things that we can do to protect our mental health and to support the wellbeing of our friends and family.
Coronavirus and wellbeing
As part of the Every Mind Matters campaign, the NHS and Public Health England have some useful tips and guides to help us look after ourselves and our families:
- 10 tips to help if you're worried about coronavirus
- Looking after children and young people
- 7 simple ideas to tackle working from home
- Mental wellbeing while staying at home
- A free Mind Plan with top tips and advice for you.
Other, more general, information and support is available from:
- Kent Community Health - support and resources to help, including advice for staying active, supporting children and young people, looking after your mental health, and other community resources
- Live Well Kent - a list of apps that can be helpful in managing mood and wellbeing
- our mental health pages have further information about local mental health and local support services.
If you’re feeling anxious
With so much change and uncertainty around at the moment it is understandable that you may be feeling a little worried, low, or stressed. These are normal responses to what is, for many, a difficult situation. However, if you are troubled by constant, repetitive thoughts which lead you to feel anxious or overwhelmed, some extra support might be helpful.
If you're feeling lonely
Lockdown and the need to self-isolate has meant some people are experiencing loneliness and isolation for the first time, and has also created increased awareness of those already socially isolated and lonely in their day-to-day lives. Read more about how we can support each other and anyone experiencing loneliness.
Wellbeing of children and young people
It's always important that we support the mental health and wellbeing of our children and young people, and perhaps even more so now during this time when their routines and contact with friends have been disrupted so much.
Many of the wellbeing ideas further down this page are suitable for all members of your family.
Wellbeing of vulnerable people
Some extremely vulnerable people in the community have been advised to minimise all interactions with other people, known as “shielding”. This includes not leaving the house for any reason for at least 12 weeks. The government has provided advice for shielded people, which includes tips and how to look after your wellbeing.
Wellbeing ideas and resources
Perhaps you’ve done the Every Mind Matters quiz and are wondering how to put their suggestions into action. Or you might just need a bit of local inspiration to help you look after your wellbeing. We’ve created a handy list of local resources and services to get you started.
It's important to stay active if you can. There are lots of ways you can do this.
- Kent Sport has lots of resources about keeping active during lockdown.
- Explore Kent have suggestions about staying local for exercise and staying connected with nature
- Alcohol over-use can impact your body and mind. To find out if you are drinking at safe levels you can take the know your score quiz. For more information visit the Alcohol Change website.
If you feel worried, anxious or low, you might stop doing things you usually enjoy. Focusing on your favourite hobby, relaxing indoors or connecting with others can help with anxious thoughts and feelings.
If you cannot do the things you normally enjoy because you are staying at home, think about how you could adapt them, or try something new. There are lots of free tutorials and courses online, and people are coming up with inventive new ways to do things, like hosting online pub quizzes and music concerts.
Working through the implications of staying at home should help you feel more prepared and less concerned.
- If you haven’t already, you might want to talk with your employer, understand your sick pay and benefits rights, and get hold of some essentials for while you are at home.
- If you’re finding it difficult to get essential groceries or medicines, then try the Kent Together helpline.
- Many of Kent’s Citizen’s Advice branches are now offering advice on employment or financial matters over the phone and online. Find your local branch on the Citizen’s Advice website.
- If you are a local business or employer, have a look at our COVID 19 your questions answered guidance.
Try to remember this disruption will only be temporary.
Focusing on the present, rather than worrying about the future, can help with difficult emotions and improve our wellbeing. Relaxation techniques can also help some people deal with feelings of anxiety.
Have a look at guided relaxation and mindfulness techniques on the North Kent Mind website.
Find a credible source you can trust and fact-check information you get from newsfeeds, social media or other people, such as:
- this website
- your local district or borough council website
- NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs)
- GOV.UK website
- NHS website.
We recommend you follow these social media accounts:
- Kent County Council -KCC Twitter, KCC Facebook, KCC Instagram and KCC LinkedIn
- Kent Public Protection -Public Protection Twitter and Public Protection Facebook
- Kent Police - Kent Police Facebook and Kent Police Twitter
- Kent Fire and Rescue - Kent Fire and Rescue Facebook and Kent Fire and Rescue Twitter
- Kent Resilience Forum on Twitter
- your local district or borough council's accounts.
Release the Pressure
We have a highly trained and experienced team at Release the Pressure, available 24/7 to provide free, expert support no matter what you are going through.
If you feel you need help now call 0800 107 0160 or text the word “Kent” to 85258.
Other places you can get urgent support
If you feel unable to cope, or keep yourself safe, and cannot wait to see a doctor, it's important to get mental health support straight away.
The Samaritans also continue to support thousands of people you can call them on 116 123 or email email@example.com.
If you have an existing mental health condition
This is a difficult time for everyone, but it presents additional challenges for people with pre-existing mental health conditions. Mental health charity MIND have lots of information and tips to help you cope.
Share your story with Healthwatch Kent
It's really important we hear how people are coping right now. Healthwatch Kent is an independent organisation that champions the views of patients and social care users across Kent.
Share your feedback about mental health services. Whatever your experiences, challenges or concerns are, we want to hear about them.