Corona Virus and Mental Health

Guidance for the public on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of Coronavirus. 

(29 March 2020)

PHE have published guidance for people on how to look after their mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak.  The general guidance is to:

  • Stay connected – stay in touch with friends and family
  • Help and support others 
  • Talk about your worries (links to NHS helplines if people can’t talk to family or friends)
  • Look after your physical wellbeing – eat healthily; drink water; exercise (links to sources for exercise ideas)
  • Look after your sleep (link to Every Mind Matters advice)
  • Try to manage difficult feelings (links to advice on managing anxiety)
  • Manage your media and information intake
  • Get the facts 
  • Think about your new daily routine – create positive new routines with positive or meaningful activities
  • Do things you enjoy
  • Set goals
  • Keep your mind active
  • Take time to relax and focus on the present (link to resources)
  • Spend time outside if possible

There is specific advice for older people to stay connected and get practical help.  The guidance also includes advice about managing the practical challenges (supplies, money, caring, accessing treatment and support) of staying at home, and advises people to let their local authority know if they are concerned about supporting or providing care for someone they don’t live with. 

There is additional advice for groups with specific mental health needs (with a link to more comprehensive guidance from Mind).  This covers: 

  • Managing difficult feelings or behaviours to do with hygiene, washing or fears of infection;
  • Managing panic or anxiety
  • Managing feelings of being trapped or claustrophobia

If people are unable to cope or experience a mental health crisis, they are advised to follow existing arrangements (Crisis Line; urgent care arrangements, local crisis support services).  If there are none, links are provided to further support from Mind, Samaritans and to NHS advice on mental health crisis.