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 are missing family, friends and colleagues. We are 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 is 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 have been leading a campaign called 'Britain Get Talking' to support the nation's mental health. Credit: ITV

ITV’s Britain Get Talking encourages people to connect - and we have 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:

A collection of famous faces from across ITV have been part of the campaign for 'Britain to get talking.' 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 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

There are some positive things about the lockdown:

  • 37% of people have got back in touch with old friends or family since the lockdown

  • 60% of people say they’re talking more often to family and friends on the phone than before the lockdown

It is 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 have lost touch with – old boyfriend/girlfriend?

  • How often should you speak to family members that are not 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 are 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:

Channel Islands Contacts:

  • Jersey

Mind JerseyMind Jersey is an independent local charity that provides support to people living with mental illness. It offers services such as peer support, residential help, family and carer support, and another side of the charity, Youthful Minds, focuses on young people.

Jersey Recovery CollegeThe Jersey Recovery College provides education and training opportunities for people experiencing mental health difficulties and the families, friends and professionals who support them.

Jersey LiberateLiberate Jersey is an equality and diversity charity in the Channel Islands. It is providing free counselling support to anyone who feels their mental health is being impacted by the changes to daily life imposed by the COVID-19 virus.

LINC CommunityLINC Community is an informal social group for adults experiencing a mental health difficulty.

My Voice JerseyMy Voice is a charity which specialises in supporting people who have severe and enduring mental-ill health or people who suffer from a severe lack of capacity. This could include islanders who have been detained, sectioned, are in hospital or prison, or who need to go to a specialist unit in the UK.

Menspace JerseyMenspace is a meetup for men with mental health problems - it is a space where they can chat with others in the same boat.

Jersey Talking TherapiesJersey Talking Therapies is a free confidential therapy service, which provides confidential psychological interventions for resident adults aged 18 or over.

Jersey Alcohol and Drugs ServiceIf you are concerned about your own alcohol and drug use, or someone else's who is close to you, visit the government's alcohol advice website where you can fill in a questionnaire which will direct you to the best place to seek support.

  • Guernsey

Guernsey MindGuernsey Mind is the local strand of the Mind charity. It aims to promote positive mental health for the community by campaigning to improve services, raise awareness and encourage understanding.

Adult Mental Health ServiceThe Adult Mental Health Service, provides an assessment, intervention, treatment and support service to people with mental health problems.

Guernsey LiberateLiberate Guernsey is an equality and diversity charity in the Channel Islands. It is providing free counselling support to anyone who feels their mental health is being impacted by the changes to daily life imposed by the COVID-19 virus.

Man Club GuernseyMan Club is a space where men can come together to just talk or just listen.

Beyond BlueThe Beyond Blue programme is aimed at mothers who develop mental health issues during or after pregnancy. It has recently been launched at the Bright Beginnings Children's Centre.

ONLINE/OTHER: Whether you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, the NHS recommends several helplines and support groups which can offer expert advice.

Alternatively, consider contacting your GP.