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Simple steps to look after yourself & others during Mental Health Awareness Week

Credit: ITV News Central

Looking after ourselves has never been more important than right now. The ‘new normal’ has changed the way we live, the way we work. We’re missing family, friends and colleagues. We’re using words like ‘ Covid19’, ‘lockdown’ and ‘social distancing’ at a time when we all need comfort the most.

The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 is about kindness and looking out for each other. There is support for people who are finding life a struggle and who need a helping hand. No one should suffer in silence. Details and ‘phone numbers of organisations and charities who can help are below.

Coronavirus is affecting mental health in general - causing disruption, uncertainty and anxiety. It’s also:

  • Adding to specific triggers (eg food, hygiene)
  • Undermining existing coping strategies
  • Accentuating existing physical health problems
  • Causing social deprivation and acute financial pressure
  • Creating difficulties accessing support
  • Putting people at risk of violence and abuse
ITV’s Britain Get Talking encourages people to connect Credit: ITV

ITV’s Britain Get Talking encourages people to connect - and we’ve never needed to connect more. The initiative is supported by mental health charities Mind and YoungMinds and a host of ITV faces. There are simple steps that can help you look after your own mental health and wellbeing.

Try this interactive quiz for tips and advice, tailored for the Covid-19 outbreak.

Every Mind Matters - ITV Hub

The initiative is supported by mental health charities Mind and YoungMinds and a host of ITV faces. Credit: ITV

YouGov has carried out research for ITV which shows that people are more concerned about mental health at this time.

44%
of people people feel more concerned about their mental health than usual
55%
of people feel more concerned about their family’s mental health than usual
57%
of people say they are conscious of the need to look after their mental wellbeing

However, there are some positive things about the lockdown:

37%
of people have got back in touch with old friends or family since the lockdown began
60%
of people say they’re talking more often to family and friends on the phone than before the lockdown

It’s estimated that Britain Get Talking has encouraged more than 6 million people to make a call or send a text to make others feel more connected to friends, family and the nation.

Talking points

- Who would you get in touch with that you’ve lost touch with – old boyfriend/girlfriend?

- How often should you speak to family members that aren’t your parents or kids. What’s normal?

- Would you play phone contact roulette – spinning through your contacts to choose someone to call at random

(A sample of 1,017 people to the end of April).

YoungMinds carried out a survey of 2,000 people with pre-existing mental health conditions and found 83% of young people felt that lockdown had made their condition worse. They had worries about their family’s health and their own health, school and university closures, loss of routine and social connections, family finances and worries about losing a job.

Here’s some coping mechanisms that helped:

  • Face-to-face calls with friends: 72% found helpful, 3% unhelpful.
  • Watching TV / films: 72% helpful; 6% unhelpful
  • Face-to-face calls with family:47% found helpful, 8% found unhelpful
  • Spending time with family: 48% found helpful, 23% unhelpful
  • Reading / watching the news: 13% helpful; 66% unhelpful

CONTACTS:

Samaritans: Call free on 116 123 or visit the Samaritans website

NHS 111: Non-emergency advice online: NHS 111 advice online (Only call 111 if you cannot get help online). People with hearing problems can use the NHS 111 British Sign Language (BSL) service.

MIND: Mind has tips and support on its website. Coronavirus and your wellbeing | Mind, the mental health …

Shout: Confidential 24/7 crisis text support. Text "SHOUT" to 85258 or visit Shout Crisis Text Line

Crisis Support For Young People: Under 35s. Call Papyrus's Hopeline UK from 9am to 10pm weekdays and 2pm to 10pm on weekends. 0800 068 41 41. Text 07786 209697 Visit the Papyrus website

CALM: The Campaign Against Living Miserably, for people in the UK who are down or have hit a wall for any reason. Call 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight). Free, anonymous webchat with trained staff. Visit the CALM website

The Mental Health Foundation hosts Mental Health Awareness Week. Find out about the charity by clicking here: Mental Health Foundation.

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