Coronavirus and your mental health


If you feel it would help to talk to someone, please contact:
Mindline Somerset on 01823 276 892
Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

It is normal to feel vulnerable and overwhelmed as we read news about the covid-19 pandemic, especially if you have experienced trauma or a mental health issue in the past. People with long-term physical health conditions can also feel more vulnerable to the effects of the coronavirus. It is important to acknowledge these feelings and remind each other that staying healthy is as much about your mind as it is about your body.

There may be times when you need some extra support to deal with your situation. It is ok to ask for help. You can find further information about support services this winter here.

Here are a few extra tips to help support and manage your wellbeing.

Try to avoid speculation and look up reputable sources on the outbreak. Facts can minimise fears. Rumour and speculation can fuel anxiety. Having access to good quality information about the virus can help you feel more in control. You can get reliable up-to-date information from the Public Health England website.

Try to stay connected – At times of stress, we work better in company and with support. Try and keep in touch with your friends and family.

Avoid over-consumption of the media – There is extensive news coverage about the outbreak. Limit worry and agitation by lessening the time you and your family spend watching or listening to media coverage that you perceive as upsetting. If you find that the news is causing you huge stress, it is important to find a balance. If you are sharing content through social media, use trusted sources. Remember friends might be worried too.

Look after your online wellbeing – If you are going online more than usual or seeking peer support on the internet, it is important to not overdo it. Here is a some more information about online mental health.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle – including proper diet, sleep and exercise. Avoid using smoking, alcohol or other drugs to deal with your emotions. You can find more information on the Healthy Somerset website.

There are some practical resources that can help with your mental health.

Every Mind Matters can help you discover simple steps to look after your mental health

Anna Freud (National Centre for children and families) provides self-care resources for young people

Headspace have developed a number of resources called Weathering the storm

Christmas coping tips

Make use of past coping skills – Draw on skills you have used in the past that have helped you to manage life’s adversities before and use those skills to help you manage your emotions during the challenging time of this outbreak.

Try not to make assumptions – Do not judge people and avoid jumping to conclusions about who is responsible for the spread of the disease. The Coronavirus can affect anyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity or sex.

Five Ways to Wellbeing - managing when asked to isolate

For people that are in self-isolation or are in quarantine, this may seem like a daunting prospect. It will help to try and see it as a different period of time in your life, and not necessarily a bad one, even if you did not choose it.

Plan how you will spend your time. It might help to write this down on paper and put it on the wall. Try to follow your ordinary routine as much as possible. Get up at the same time as normal, follow your usual morning routines, and go to bed at your usual time.

Create a daily routine that prioritises looking after yourself. Staying healthy is as much about your mind as it is about your body.

1. Stay Connected

Self-isolation does not mean you cannot stay connected. While there will be physical distancing’ it is still important to maintain human connection. In fact, at times of stress we work better if we can have contact with others. The more you can plan for this the better

  • Make plans to video chat with people or groups you would normally see in person.
  • If you are part of a group of people who are also self-isolating this group could also act as an informal support network i.e. work colleagues
  • Join a peer support group community, for example Mind side by side online community
  • You can also arrange phone calls or send instant messages or texts.
  • Think of other ways to keep in contact with people if meeting in person is not possible. For example, you could check your phone numbers are up to date, or that you have current email addresses for friends you have not seen for a while.
  • Putting extra pictures up of the people you care about might be a nice reminder of the people in your life.
  • Listen to a chatty radio station or podcast if your home feels too quiet.

2. Keep Learning

Find ways to spend your time that bring you some enjoyment and satisfaction

  • Keep your brain occupied and challenged. Set aside time in your routine for this. Read books, magazines and articles. Listen to podcasts, watch films and do puzzles.
  • Some libraries have apps you can use to borrow eBooks, audiobooks or magazines from home for free, if you are a library member.
  • FutureLearn and OpenLearn have free online courses you could try.
  • There are lots of apps that can help you learn things, such as a foreign language or other new skills
  • Opportunity to start to learn an instrument, craft or technical skills

3. Stay Active

It is important to try and build physical activity into your daily routine. Exercising at home can be simple and there are options for most ages and abilities, such as

  • cleaning your home
  • dancing to music
  • going up and down stairs
  • seated exercises
  • online exercise workouts that you can follow

4. Take Notice

Of Nature – Bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. It can improve your mood, reduce feelings of stress or anger, and make you feel more relaxed. You could try the following:

  • Spend time with the windows open to let in fresh air.
  • Have flowers or potted plants in your home. Plant up seedlings bought online.
  • Use natural materials to decorate your living space or use them in art projects. This could include leaves, flowers, feathers, tree bark or seeds.
  • Look at photos of your favourite places in nature. Use them as the background on your mobile phone or computer screen or print and put them up on your walls.
  • Listen to natural sounds, like recordings or apps that play birdsong, ocean waves or rainfall. Get as much natural light as you can.
  • Spend time in your garden if you have one, or open your front or back door

Of Yourself  – There are lots of different ways that you can relax, take notice of the present moment and use your creative side. These include:

  • arts and crafts; such as drawing, painting, collage, sewing, craft kits or upcycling
  • DIY
  • colouring
  • mindfulness
  • playing musical instruments, singing or listening to music
  • writing
  • yoga
  • Meditation

5. Give

Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community, can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you. Think what activities you can do at home that might benefit others. Ideas might include:

  • ringing or writing to a friend, family member or neighbour who may be feeling particularly lonely and isolated
  • make bunting for your local fete or community group
  • build bird boxes or animal shelters
  • spring clean cupboards and drawers and donate unwanted items to your chosen charity
  • sew blankets and clothes for the local special baby unit

Further National Guidance

Public health England Coronavirus –  protect yourself and others

Mind – Coronavirus and your wellbeing

Every Mind Matters is a new national practical resource to help you discover simple steps to look after your mental health

University College London – How to tackle mental health in the workplace as a manager and colleague

GOV.UK – Guidance for the public on mental health and wellbeing

Looking after your own health, wellbeing and safety

Residents are coming together in our communities to find ways to plan and support each other as the number of cases of Coronavirus increase. We thank you. We urge you to continue to look out for your friends, family, neighbours and community, but most of all yourself. It is important you stay safe, so you can continue to help others.

What you can do to help yourself

Follow the NHS advice on how to prevent the spread of coronavirus. We can all play our part to reduce its spread through basic hygiene measures such as washing your hands regularly with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds, using a tissue when coughing then binning it, wiping down objects and surfaces regularly and avoiding touching your face, particularly your eyes, mouth and nose.

Think about keeping yourself emotionally healthy and happy – especially how you might do this if you have to stay indoors.

  • You can find practical advice and resources to help you with your mental health here
  • Read the ‘Five ways to wellbeing when self-isolating’ section of this page for ideas on how you can occupy your time in a positive way and so look after your own wellbeing.

Stay up to date using trusted sources of information – sharing misinformation can cause further concern in communities

Plan ahead and ask friends and neighbours for help to make sure that you can successfully stay at home and consider what can be done for vulnerable people in the household

If you need help then ask friends, family and delivery services to deliver things like food shopping and medicines but leave them outside

Follow some very simple advice to keep you safe

  • Do not put a sign on your door openly stating you are vulnerable
  • Do not share more personal information than absolutely necessary
  • Do not share bank or card details or give people your cards to make purchases
  • Contact the organisers of the group if someone asks you to pay more for something than you normally would

If you have a safeguarding concern or require adult social care support about a vulnerable adult, then see our Report an adult at risk page or phone us on 0300 123 2224

Helping children cope with stress during the Coronavirus

You can find theWinter Wellbeing briefing of support services for children and young people here.

Children may respond to stress in different ways, such as being more clingy, anxious, withdrawing, sad, angry or agitated, or bedwetting. It is normal to have such emotions and behaviours during a crisis.

Here are some useful tips to help children cope with their emotions during the coronavirus

  • Children need adults’ love and attention during difficult times. Respond to your child’s reactions in a supportive way. Listen to their concerns and give them extra love and attention. Speak kindly and reassure them
  • If possible, make opportunities for the child to play and relax
  • Keep to regular routines and schedules as much as possible, or help create new ones in a new environment, including school/learning as well as time for safely playing and relaxing
  • Involving our family and children in our plans for good health is essential. We need be alert to and ask children what they have heard about the outbreak and support them, without causing them alarm

We need to minimise the negative impact it has on our children and explain the facts to them. Discuss the news with them but try and avoid over-exposure to coverage of the virus. Be as truthful as possible. Do not avoid the ‘scary topic’ but engage in a way that is appropriate for them

The Mental Health Foundation has some useful information about talking to children about scary news

GOV.UK – Guidance on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing

Better Health – Every Mind Matters – Mental health campaign supports the wellbeing of children, young people and their parents.

Bereavement and the Coronavirus

Local information and guidance to help you if a loved one has died during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the COVID-19 outbreak we are, together, facing a loss of life, often under very difficult circumstances.

We have created a guide to help you with practical information such as how to register a death, through to planning a funeral and information on bereavement and grief. There is also a section on further advice and support.

Thank you to those who have lost a loved one for helping us put this guide together.

Bereavement and Coronavirus Booklet

If you would like to talk someone about your loss
Grieving is important to us all, and there is no one way to grieve. It often encompasses a wide range of emotions, including (but in no particular order) anger, despair, sadness, numb, relief, worry, anxiety, frustrated and fear.

If you would like to have someone to talk to about your loss, then please contact the Bereavement Support Partnership. They are there to help you through this difficult time.

Somerset Bereavement Support Partnership
Marie Curie Companions Service to provide one to one emotional and bereavement support for all. Additional specialist help will also be available if needed.

Please phone 0800 3047 412
Monday to Saturday 9am to 5pm

More support

Looking after your mental health leaflet

Spark Somerset – Open Mental Health

Mental health organisations have come together to provide 24/7 support to adults in Somerset. Whatever is worrying you – anxiety, debt, employment, housing, low mood, addiction – they are there to help.

If you need support you can find out more here

Last reviewed: March 29, 2023 by Joe

Next review due: September 29, 2023

Back to top