Mental Health Awareness Week: Looking after you

Credit: ITV

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 - 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.


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

There are some positive things about 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 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

Here are some organisations offering help and support to people: