Your mental health

Take care with news and information

Stay connected with current events, but be careful where you get news and health information from.

For up-to-date COVID-19 advice in English:

If news stories make you feel anxious or confused, think about switching off or limiting what you look at for a while.

Social media could help you stay in touch with people, but might also make you feel anxious including if people are sharing news stories or posting about their worries.

Consider taking a break or limiting how you use social media. You might decide to view particular groups or pages but not scroll through your timeline or newsfeed.

Anxiousness or anxiety

If you have panic attacks or feel anxious it might help to plan a 'safe space' in your home.

Breathing exercises may help if you start to feel anxious.

Alternatively, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) has more information on how to cope if you’re feeling anxious or worried.

Claustrophobia or 'feeling cooped-up'

Just like anxiety and loneliness, feeling cooped up can have a profound effect on your mental health.

  • Open the windows to let in fresh air, or you could spend time sitting on your doorstep or in your garden if you have one.
  • Try looking at the sky out of the window or from your doorstep. This can help to give you a sense of space.
  • Try to regularly change the rooms you spend time in.

Difficulty following a traumatic experience

During this difficult time, you may have experienced many traumatic incidents.

Emotional responses following traumatic experiences: a self-help guide for frontline NHS staff [LINK] describes some of the ongoing difficult circumstances you may be facing, as well as their consequences now and in the longer term.

Feeling overwhelmed

Mindfulness has been found to be helpful in managing overwhelming and distressing emotions when they arise. Emotional support and mindfulness exercises [LINK] can be used to help during these times.

You may also find it helpful to read Covid-19 and Mindfulness [LINK], a useful overview for health and care staff, including accessible exercises for those unfamiliar to mindfulness.

Switching off

If you’ve had a busy day the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust has made a helpful video if you need help switching off.

Wellbeing apps

There are plenty of apps and websites that will help you manage your mental health. Just remember, quality and reliability varies so check it's coming from a trusted source. The NHS app library is a good place to start.

Mind Shift

Mind Shift is a free mental health app designed specifically for teenagers and young adults with anxiety. Rather than trying to avoid anxious feelings, Mind Shift stresses the importance of changing how you think about anxiety. It can encourage you to take charge of your life, ride out intense emotions and face challenging situations.

Download Mind Shift

Self Help for Anxiety Management (SAM)

SAM is a useful app for those interested in self-help who have difficulty getting to grips with meditation. Users are prompted to build their own 24-hour anxiety toolkit that allows you to track anxious thoughts and behaviour over time, whilst learning 25 different self-help techniques. Users are also given the option of using the SAM "Social Cloud" feature to confidentially connect with other users in an online community for additional support.

Download Self Help for Anxiety Management

Happify

With a psychologist-approved mood-training program, the Happify app provides users with a fast-track to improving mood. Users are able to try various engaging games, activity suggestions, gratitude prompts and more to train your brain as if it were a muscle, to overcome negative thoughts.

Download Happify

Headspace

This app helps to make meditation simple. Learn the skills of mindfulness and meditation by using this app for just a few minutes per day. Users are able to gain access to hundreds of meditations on topics related to stress, anxiety, sleep and focus. The app also provides helpful reminders to encourage you to keep practicing each day.

Download Headspace

Calm

The calm app provides people experiencing stress and anxiety with guided meditations, sleep stories, breathing programs, and relaxing music. This app is universal, for those who have never tried meditation before to those who regularly practice.

Download Calm

Smiling Mind

This app provides users with a way to practice daily meditation and mindfulness exercises from any device. Developed by psychologists and educator, this unique tool helps to bring balance to users lives. This can be used as a helpful response during times of stress.

Download Smiling Mind

Online resources

Here’s a range of self-help booklets and resources you can access anywhere:

Self-help booklets: These online booklets cover a variety of issues including anxiety, low mood, difficulty sleeping, stress, health anxiety, and OCD. These booklets provide information on what you may experience, as well as providing advice for how you may support yourself and manage your situation. Each booklet is available in written and audio formats, and have a large print version for those who have visual impairments.

Wellbeing Booklets: Online booklets covering a variety of issues including self-esteem, stress and panic attacks. Audio and visual resources are also available.

Mental wellbeing audio guides: This page offers individuals the opportunity to listen to a series of mental wellbeing audio guides to help boost your mood to help with feelings of anxiety and low mood.

Support for someone who has experiences of, or is currently experiencing, mental health difficulties

If you or someone you know is currently experiencing or has previously experienced mental health difficulties these resources may help:

Looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak has useful tips to help you, your friends and your family to look after your mental health during this time.

Managing your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak includes tips and resources to maintain your wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak.

Coronavirus and your wellbeing provides information about how coronavirus may affect our lives and how we can maintain our wellbeing.

An introduction to mental health distress explains mental health distress, the causes and the varyinf kinds of help, treatment and support available. This page also offers guidance on where to find additional information and tips for friends and family.

Self-help and wellbeing is a website offering tips and guides to support your wellbeing during this time, including ways to stay well in the workplace.

Mental health support is a vast website offering numerous health and wellbeing tips and resources to support your mental health.

The theory: Compassion Focused Therapy

For information regarding our mental health during Covid-19, Using a Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) approach to Covid-19 provides an explanation regarding our emotional systems that may be affected by the changes brought about by coronavirus, for those interested in theory.

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