Supporting mental health during coronavirus outbreak
People struggling with their mental health during the coronavirus pandemic will be offered additional online support and practical guidance to help them cope, Mental Health Minister Nadine Dorries has announced.
In recognition of the unprecedented challenges which the outbreak and extended periods of self-isolation can pose, Public Health England has published new online guidance setting out principles to follow to help people to manage their mental health during this difficult time.
Among the principals are recommendations to maintain contact with friends and family via telephone and video calls, or social media; keep a regular routine and sleeping pattern; and focus on a hobby or learning something new.
"When I discovered I had coronavirus I felt anxious and scared," said Ms Dorries.
"For those who already suffer with anxiety or other mental health issues this may present new and difficult challenges.
"It’s imperative that we stay home if we are to beat coronavirus and save lives. I know how important it is that people have support to look after their mental health and this guidance will be of huge value."
The government has also announced a £5 million grant for leading mental health charities, administered by Mind, to fund additional services for people struggling with their mental wellbeing during this time. This could include telephone and online support services for the most isolated and vulnerable in the communities.
Public Health England has updated its world-leading Every Mind Matters platform with specific advice on maintaining good mental wellbeing during the outbreak. People can also complete a ‘Mind Plan’ - a quick and free tool that has already been completed over 1.8 million times.
"We are facing one of the toughest ever times for our mental wellbeing as a nation. It is absolutely vital that people pull together and do all they can to look after themselves and their loved ones, when we are all facing a huge amount of change and uncertainty," said Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind and co-ordinating a group of mental health charities.
"Reaching out to friends and family is critical, as well as paying attention to the impact our physical health can have on our mental health - from diet and exercise to getting enough natural light and a little fresh air," he concluded.