Government announces extra support to help with mental health struggles

Image Newscast Online/Mind

People struggling with their mental health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak will be offered additional online support and practical guidance to help them cope, Mental Health Minister Nadine Dorries has announced today (March 29).

Public Health England has published new online guidance on setting out ways to help people to manage their mental health during this difficult time.

Advice includes:

  • maintaining contact with friends and family via telephone and video calls, or social media
  • keeping a regular routine and sleeping pattern
  • focusing on a hobby or learning something new

There will also be advice for parents and carers on how to support children and young people with stress during the coronavirus outbreak.

The guidance has been developed in partnership with leading mental health charities and clinically assured by the NHS. It includes steps that those living with serious mental health problems can take, including seeking support from their mental health teams.

The government has also announced a £5 million grant for leading mental health charities, administered by Mind, to fund additional services for people struggling with their mental wellbeing during this time. This could include telephone and online support services for the most isolated and vulnerable in our communities.

Public Health England has updated its Every Mind Matters platform with specific advice on maintaining good mental wellbeing during the outbreak. People can also complete a ‘Mind Plan’, a quick and free tool that has already been completed over 1.8 million times.

Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director at Public Health England, said: “During these challenging times, it is natural for all of us to feel worried or anxious, but there are things we can all do to help ourselves and others, to prevent these feelings from becoming more serious.

“We should continue to check up on friends, family and neighbours by phone or online and pursue the activities we are able to do from home and in line with guidance. By adopting a new routine, setting goals, eating healthily and maintaining physical activity, we can stay in good mental health today and tomorrow.”

NHS Mental Health providers are establishing 24/7 helplines.

Mind will use their existing links with other charities, including grassroots, user-led organisations, to reach vulnerable groups who are at particular risk during this period. This is expected to include older adults, people with an underlying health condition and anyone experiencing unstable employment and housing conditions.

Getting help

Every Mind Matters provides simple tips and advice to start taking better care of your mental health. If you are still struggling after several weeks and it is affecting your daily life, please contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111.

You can access free easy ten minute work outs from Public Health England or try other exercise videos at home on the NHS Fitness Studio. Sport England also has tips for keeping active at home.

The Every Mind Matters sleep page provides practical advice on how to improve your sleep.

Visit the NHS mental health and wellbeing advice website for self-assessment, audio guides and practical tools, if you are experiencing stress, feelings of anxiety or low mood.

If you  have a mental health problem, you can access comprehensive guidance provided by Mind.