Advice

How to Help your Mental Health During the Coronavirus

Within all the breaking news of the global outbreak of Covid-19, there is one necessary topic that is often neglected: how will this virus affect people’s mental health? Social distancing and self-isolation are crucial steps for containing the virus, however mental health charities are worried about the impact it will have upon people who suffer from pre-existing mental health conditions.

Moreover, the media frenzy surrounding the virus is having a damaging impact upon people who suffer from OCD and anxiety disorders. Psychotherapist Kathryn Kinmond has said “coronavirus gives rise to lots of uncertainty, and this has particular resonance with people who suffer from anxiety”. So, what can we do to be mindful of our mental health during this very stressful time? While there is certainly no solution that will fix everything overnight, there is certainly many resources that could offer you some relief if you are struggling with your mental health.

Mind:

The charity, Mind, is committed to destigmatising and supporting people’s mental health in the UK. I have found the website to be really useful in the past, as not only does it have a lot of advice and tips for dealing with a range of mental health, it also has blogs written by everyday people on how they were able to overcome or lessen their mental health issues.

Mind have written a page dedicated to balancing your mental health with coronavirus

What is even more valuable, is that Mind have written a page dedicated to balancing your mental health with coronavirus, called ‘Coronavirus and your wellbeing’. There are many sections on this page related to taking care of yourself and adjusting to life at home, but the ones that I found the most beneficial for me were ‘handwashing and anxiety’, ‘take care with news and information’ and ‘if you’re feeling anxious’.

Stop, Breathe, Think:

I used to be a bit hesitant at the idea of meditation, but I have found in recent years that meditating once a day can really help ground you if you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or just generally uneasy. I have tried quite a few meditation apps, but the one that I always come back to is Stop, Breathe, Think, due to the simplicity of the app layout and the effectiveness of the guided meditations.

Once you open the app, it will ask you to reflect for a moment on how you are feeling both physically and mentally and asks you to select the emotions that you are feeling, before it then recommends certain meditations to ease the negative emotions you may be experiencing. Another feature on the app which I really like, is that if you find a guided meditation that you enjoy, you can go favourite it and then return to it whenever you wish.

You can download the app Stop, Breathe, Think on either the App Store or Google Play.

Anxiety UK:

There is a link to a free guide on breathing and relaxation

Anxiety UK are dedicated to helping people living with anxiety, stress, OCD, health anxiety and anxiety-based depression. In light of the current outbreak of Covid-19, they have created a webpage with resources and advice of how to ease stress during this difficult time, these resources can be found at here. On the webpage, there is a link to a free guide on breathing and relaxation, which I thought could be helpful to read during isolation now that we all have a lot more time on our hands.

Furthermore, there are webinars and blogs that can be found on an additional webpage called #Coronanxiety Support & Resources that aims to support anyone dealing with anxiety surrounding the coronavirus and makes sure that you don’t feel alone in whatever you are experiencing.

Anxiety UK have also considered the increased need for helplines, so they have decided to extend their helpline hours until 10pm on weekdays and over the weekend between 10am and 8pm, so if you are experiencing any anxiety or stress you can call their helpline number 03444 775774.

Samaritans (helpline- 116 123):

The Samaritans are an invaluable resource for you to share any difficult or painful feelings without judgement or bias

It is helpful to tell someone how you are feeling. If you feel that the idea of talking to family or friends is too daunting at the moment, the Samaritans are an invaluable resource for you to share any difficult or painful feelings without judgement or bias. The Samaritans are a charity that aims to provide “emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide”.

Anyone who works in a Samaritans call centre has received the relevant training and will keep your information confidential (provided that no one is a serious risk to themselves or others), so they are certainly prepared to listen to you and be as compassionate as they can. Due to obvious risks of the coronavirus, face-to-face support has been halted at most branches, however there are many other ways to get in contact the Samaritans. You can call their helpline at any time day or night; you send them an email and receive a reply within 24 hours, or you can write them a letter.

Alex Hogg

Featured image courtesy of MENKAURE – [FROZEN ILLUSIONS PHOTOGRAPHY] via Flickr. No changes made to this image. Image license found here

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