Health experts are encouraging people across Gloucestershire to look after their mental health and wellbeing during the current Covid-19 ‘lockdown’.
The physical health impacts of Covid-19 are well recognised, but anxiety about health, job security and finances, social isolation and changes in routines and family relationships can have an impact.
Alex Burrage, Consultant Psychological Therapist with the county’s NHS Let’s Talk service, said: “This is a really difficult time for all of us in different ways. None of us will have experienced anything like this in our lifetime and it’s only natural that we will be worried, unsettled and frightened about what lies ahead.
“While it’s normal to feel anxious and down, if it starts to take over and it stops you from functioning or feeling like yourself, it’s important to get help. The earlier you speak out about how you are feeling the sooner you can take steps to get better, so our message would be – don’t suffer in silence.”
Siobhan Farmer, Deputy Director of Public Health with Gloucestershire County Council, said: “It’s really important to try and maintain our mental health and wellbeing as much as we possibly can – all of the time, but particularly at the moment.
“It may be hard to maintain a routine, stay in contact with family and friends and stay positive but we all need to do what we can and support each other in doing this.”
Mental Health lead for NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Lawrence Fielder said: “Together, it’s important we do all we can to support people through these unprecedented times and recognise the impact this can have on the mind. Many of the routines we are used to have had to change and a great many people are having to juggle and manage family, financial and work related pressures.
“Our message is that advice and support remains available and if you are struggling to cope, we want people to know that asking for help and reaching out is the right step to take. You are not alone and there is someone to listen.”
Tips on maintaining health and wellbeing during the Covid pandemic include:
- Follow the ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’:
- Connect with friends and family over the phone,
- Be active, get outside once a day to exercise if you can or if you’re isolating try yoga or gardening,
- Take notice of what’s around you and what’s happening in the moment,
- Keep learning and keep your mind active, and
- Give a small act of kindness to a friend or volunteer for the Community Help Hub.
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Take some regular exercise – outdoors in the fresh air if you can (bearing in mind social distancing)
- Try and maintain a routine, with a regular sleep pattern
- Stay informed, but remember to take a break from the news or social media
- Tell someone how you are feeling, if you’re struggling
- Look out for one another, whether that be your friends, relatives, neighbours, or colleagues
Agencies and websites you can turn to for help include:
- Let’s Talk – 0800 073 2200 or www.letstalkglos.nhs.uk
- For more information on the Five Ways to Wellbeing or to find further support visit
- The Samaritans on 116 123 or https://www.samaritans.org/
- Teens in Crisis – https://ticplus.org.uk/
- Gloucestershire’s Rethink Self Harm Helpline on 0808 801 0606 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Swindon and Gloucestershire Mind on https://www.sgmind.org.uk/
You can also contact your GP surgery if you are struggling with your mental health and finding it difficult to cope with everyday life.