Whatever you’re going through, call
us free any time on 116 123 or click here
Somerset Mindline has extended its hours. Mindline is a confidential listening service which provides a safe place to talk if you, or someone you know, is in distress. We can also give basic information about mental health and local support services.
01823 276 892
Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. See our Somerset website
The Zero Suicide Alliance
The Zero Suicide Alliance (ZSA) is a collaboration of National Health Service trusts, charities, businesses and individuals who are all committed to suicide prevention in the UK and beyond. We are an alliance of people and organisations coming together around one basic principle: Suicide is preventable
The ZSA is ultimately concerned with improving support for people contemplating suicide by raising awareness of, and promoting, FREE suicide prevention training which is accessible to all. Visit their website https://www.zerosuicidealliance.com/training
It is normal to feel vulnerable and overwhelmed as we read news about the outbreak, 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’s important to acknowledge these feelings and remind each other that staying healthy is as much about your mind as it is about your body.
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’s 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’re going online more than usual or seeking peer support on the internet, it’s 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
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 – Don’t 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 when self-isolating
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 didn’t choose it.
Plan how you’ll 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
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’d normally see in person.
- If you’re 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 Elefriends at Mind
- 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’ve 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.
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’re 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
It’s 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
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
- playing musical instruments, singing or listening to music
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
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
Helping children cope with stress during the Coronavirus
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. Don’t 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
If you can’t find the help you need, or your need is more urgent, please phone the
Somerset Coronavirus Helpline
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.
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