Public Health England’s Every Mind Matters platform has launched new advice, focussed on looking after people’s mental wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It has been updated after new data shows over 4 in 5 (85.2%) people are worried about the effect that coronavirus is having on their life, with over half (53.1%) saying it was affecting their well-being and nearly half (46.9%) reporting high levels of anxiety.
A range of new resources from Every Mind Matters, designed specifically to help manage our mental wellbeing during coronavirus, includes a tailored COVID-19 Mind Plan, COVID-19 specific content for individuals and their loved ones, and support for specific mental wellbeing issues such as anxiety, stress, low mood and trouble sleeping. The website signposts people to activities such as mindful breathing exercises, help managing unhelpful thoughts, and muscle relaxation.
To help get this vital message out there, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are supporting Every Mind Matters and have narrated a new short film which is being broadcast across national TV channels. The film portrays a range of people whose lives have been affected by COVID19 and aims to reassure people that support is available and encourages everyone to take care of their mental wellbeing at this difficult time.
NHS’s Top 5 Tips for maintaining mental wellbeing during the Coronavirus outbreak
- Talk about your worries: it is normal to feel worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. Maintain contact with friends and family via phone and video calls to share how you are feeling.
- Keep a regular routine and set goals: you may need to set a new routine for now. Try writing a plan for your day with the things you can still do at home, like watching a film, reading a book or completing a puzzle. Setting goals and achieving them gives a sense of control and purpose. Maintaining good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how you feel mentally and physically too, so it’s important to get enough (the Every Mind Matters sleep page provides practical advice on how to improve your sleep).
- Manage your media and information intake: if 24-hour news and constant social media updates are making you worried, try to limit the time you spend watching, reading, or listening to coverage of the outbreak to once or twice a day.
- Do things you enjoy and try something new: focussing on your favourite hobby, learning something new, or simply taking time to relax indoors should give you some relief from anxious thoughts and feelings and can help boost your mood. Look online for lots of free tutorials and courses.
- Look after your body: our physical health has a big impact on how we feel. At times like these it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour that end up making you feel worse. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and exercise regularly. You can leave your house, alone or with members of your household, for one form of exercise a day – like a walk, run or bike ride. But make you keep a safe 2-metre distance from others.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We have asked people to make unprecedented changes to their day-to-day lives as part of our national effort to respond to this global pandemic. Staying at home and not seeing friends and loved ones can take its toll and it is completely understandable to feel overwhelmed or anxious.
“It’s vital that we all look after our mental health in these challenging times, so today we are launching new guidance on the NHS Every Mind Matters website which is tailored to help people deal with this outbreak through practical tips and advice.
“Whether it’s through exercise, keeping to a routine, or trying something new – there is so much we can do to keep our minds healthy and prevent issues becoming more serious – and I’d encourage everyone to take advantage of this brilliant resource.”
Jesse Lingard, England footballer, said: “I’m doing yoga twice a week at home to look after my mental health. Speaking to my family on a regular basis is also really helpful as they give me support and make me feel connected. All of our lives have obviously changed a lot in recent weeks which can be confusing and make you feel anxious. Even during isolation I am trying to stay focused and set goals which has helped me maintain a routine and positive attitude.”
For more information, search ‘Every Mind Matters’ or visit https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/ to create your personalised Mind Plan.