Coronavirus and your mental health

It's completely normal to feel scared, anxious and uncertain

Coping with stress, fear and uncertainty at this time

In the most uncertain of times, increased fear is a completely normal and necessary response. This is the first thing to remember. Your fearful response is not weak or pathetic; its normal and you need it. While this is a very unique and scary time for most of us, it's important to be aware of the strategies we can adopt to manage our fears and anxieties. 

 

Here are a few ways you can help improve your mental health and wellbeing if you are worried or anxious about the coronavirus outbreak.

 

Remember that fear is a completely normal response

Infectious disease outbreaks like this can be scary and, understandably, people are scared. This is a normal response. We need fear to motivate behaviours that help us to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Of course, when fear persists and becomes overwhelming it can become a problem. The important thing to remember is that while increased fear is a normal and necessary response, there are strategies we can adopt to manage it.

 

Focus on the things you can control

We often fear what we don’t understand. And in this time of uncertainty, there are so many things outside of our control. This can be difficult to process and many of us will react by searching for answers and playing out all the different scenarios in our heads. This could leave us feeling disorientated, anxious, and overwhelmed. Try to shift your focus to things you can control and take steps to reduce your own personal risk such as washing your hands frequently (for at least 20 seconds) with soap and water or a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol and following all recommendations from health authorities. 

 

Talk about your fears and concerns

It's normal to feel disorientated and worried, and many of us will share similar concerns. Sharing your feelings can improve your mood and make it easier to deal with the tough times. Remember that it's ok to share these concerns with people you trust and doing so could also help them. 

 

Stick to the facts

Further down this page, you'll find a list of useful, trusted resources that provide factual information about the ongoing situation. Rather than drawing on potentially incorrect information from social media, it may help to use sources like this. Remember that misinformation can amplify fear. Fact-check information from the news and social media against trustworthy sources, not only to protect yourself but to prevent you from sharing incorrect information that could cause concern and worry for others.

 

 

Where can I go for urgent support?

If you are concerned about your mental health, visiting your GP is a good place to start. If you cannot wait to see a doctor and feel unable to cope or keep yourself safe, it's important to get support. There are lots of options available and you will probably find some more useful than others. The NHS is the largest provider of healthcare in the UK, but there are many other places that can help you.

 

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.

 

 

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Free online tools and resources you might find helpful

There are countless online materials that promise to help your mental health and wellbeing. But which ones actually work? Here are a few of our favourite free online resources.

 

Big White Wall

A safe online community for people who are stressed, anxious or feeling low.

 

Calm Harm

App to help teenagers manage the urge to self-harm.

 

Catch it

App that teaches you how to look at your problems in a different way.

 

My Possible Self

Mental health app that uses clinically proven content to reduce symptoms of low mood, anxiety and stress in eight weeks.

 

Stress and Anxiety Companion

App that helps you handle stress and anxiety on-the-go.

 

7 Cups 

Connects you to caring listeners for free emotional support.

 

Sanvello

free app for stress and anxiety with over 3 million users.

 

Stay Alive

Suicide prevention resource for the UK, packed full of useful information and tools to help you stay safe in crisis.

 

Mood Fit

App that helps reduce low mood and anxiety.

 

WellMind

Free NHS mental health and wellbeing app designed to help you manage stress.

 

Six tips to reduce stress when working from home

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The doctor was very understanding, insightful and helpful which immediately put me at ease. We went through the symptoms and hospital letters in detail which meant she could reach a clear prognosis and treatment plan for me to follow. It saved me from having to leave my house and risking getting an infection from an unnecessary visit to a hospital, plus I didn't need to use NHS resources at such a challenging time.
Doctor Care Anywhere Patient
March 2020

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