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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Some tips to help you look after
your mental health while staying at home.
You don't have to be a therapist to be able to help others. Here are a
few simple and practical things you can do that may help the people around you.
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.
A safe online community for people who are stressed, anxious or feeling low.
App to help teenagers manage the urge to self-harm.
App that teaches you how to look at your problems in a different way.
Mental health app that uses clinically proven content to reduce symptoms of low mood, anxiety and stress in eight weeks.
App that helps you handle stress and anxiety on-the-go.
Connects you to caring listeners for free emotional support.
free app for stress and anxiety with over 3 million users.
Suicide prevention resource for the UK, packed full of useful information and tools to help you stay safe in crisis.
App that helps reduce low mood and anxiety.
Free NHS mental health and wellbeing app designed to help you manage stress.