For the last few weeks, our doctors have been busy responding to a range of people’s queries about coronavirus. This includes many people seeking support for mental health issues and understandably people are concerned about the health and wellbeing of their loved ones.
Remember, you don't have to be a therapist to be able to help others. Think about ways you can evoke compassion, kindness & empathy among those around you. Being calm and showing understanding can be the most effective thing you can do to help someone.
Be aware that crises produce different responses in different individuals. For example, people who care for those who are particularly vulnerable to the virus might be extra worried, while others will be concerned about their job security or their own underlying conditions.
It’s always important to try to develop some awareness of how the situation is affecting you and how that impacts the way you speak to others.
Here are a few simple and practical things you can do that may help the people around you.
Remind them that fear is a normal response to the current situation. We need our fear to motivate appropriate behaviours that help us to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Calmly conveying this can help ease tension and fear.
Peoples’ underlying mental health difficulties such as anxiety may be exacerbated. If you need to help someone who is struggling, you could ask them what techniques they have used in the past that have helped. At the same time, it's important to direct them to seek professional help if that seems appropriate.
Help people stay alert but not afraid. Advise your loved ones to pick one or two trusted sources of information and stick to them. Refrain from passing anything on that could be misinformation. They should choose sources that are relevant to them and the people they interact with.
As social beings, self-isolating will be difficult for most people. To help others - and yourself - through this time, make sure you stay connected through technology. Use video when you can - seeing someone’s face really can make a huge difference! Don’t be shy about going on camera; your loved ones will really appreciate seeing you. If not, phone calls are still a great way to lift someone's mood and help them feel less lonely.
If you’re concerned about your mental health, feel unable to cope or just want to speak to an expert, you can always come to us. Book a face-to-face video call with one of our brilliant doctors for a time that suits you – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
You can even choose which of our doctors you’d like to see. What’s more, you won’t have to de-register from your normal GP surgery. So, log into your account and book an appointment or sign up now. We’re waiting to help.
Other places where you can seek support are:
The Samaritans provide confidential, non-judgemental emotional support day or night for anyone who’s struggling to cope. You can contact them by phone, email, or talk to someone face to face.
Hub of Hope is a mental health support services directory set up by charity Chasing the Stigma to help you find support services near you.
The NHS has set up a mood assessment quiz, which is designed to recommend resources to help you better understand how you feel.
Rethink Mental Illness Advice Line provides advice and information to people with mental health problems and those who care for them.
Shout is the UK’s first 24/7 text service specifically to help people with their mental health. It's free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere.