With many feeling worried, anxious or isolated during these challenging times, Every Mind Matters highlights that there are lots of things we can do to look after our mental wellbeing and help others to prevent these concerns from becoming more serious.
The range of new resources, designed specifically to help manage our mental wellbeing during coronavirus, include 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 reframing 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 set to be broadcast across national TV channels from Monday 20 April.
Everyone in the country has been affected by COVID-19 in some way, be it through staying at home and being separated from friends and family, uncertainty about work or education or knowing someone with the virus. The film portrays a range of people whose lives have been affected by COVID-19. It aims to reassure people that support is available and encourages everyone to take care of their mental wellbeing at this difficult time.
Alongside the new COVID-19 mental health support, Every Mind Matters encourages people to complete a personal ‘Mind Plan’, a quick and free interactive tool offering tailored mental wellbeing advice. More than 1.9 million Mind Plans have been completed since the launch in October.
The NHS-endorsed content has been developed in partnership with clinicians, academics and leading mental health charities and social enterprises including Mind, Mental Health Foundation, Samaritans, Rethink, Mental Health First Aid England, the Royal Foundation, the Centre for Mental Health, Time to Change, NSUN and What Works Wellbeing. It offers authoritative, evidence-based and practical support to the general public, as well as people with specific mental health concerns.
The NHS’s Top 5 Tips for maintaining mental wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak
You can view these and more tips on Every Mind Matters.
- 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, such as 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).
- 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: focusing 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 free tutorials and courses. Try some life story writing.
- 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 sure you keep a safe 2-metre distance from others.
Professor Paul Cosford, Emeritus Medical Director at Public Health England, said:
During the coronavirus outbreak, it is natural for all of us to feel worried or anxious, but there are things we can all do to help ourselves and others, to prevent these feelings from becoming more serious. Every Mind Matters offers NHS-endorsed guidance on the simple things we can do to maintain good mental wellbeing.