Mental health

Support services

The services listed here offer help to young people who need to talk to someone, or are looking for information and advice on how to protect their mental health during the pandemic.

  • Young Minds - tips, advice and guidance on where you can get support for your mental health.
  • Health for Teens - covers subjects that promote a healthy body and mind. It links you to more information if you need it, and supports you to get in touch with local services.
  • ChatHealth - a confidential text messaging service, where you can contact your local public health nursing (school nursing) team. Just send a message, you don’t have to give your name: 07520 615 387
  • Kooth - a free online counselling and emotional well-being platform.
  • Let's Talk Wellbeing - offers talking therapies for people experiencing  depression, anxiety, panic, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), trauma and stress.

Managing anxiety during the Coronavirus outbreak 

Worries about coronavirus are common right now - you're not alone, and it is okay to feel a little anxious, worried or experience lots of other emotions. 

We’ve pulled together some links and resources from across the web, to help you at this time. 

Your questions answered: school closures and exams

Coronavirus: Exams are cancelled – how will I get my grades?

General Tips and Advice

Calming and breathing exercises:

Five finger breathing

Box Breathing - a very simple way to take control of your breathing and help you to feel calmer if your anxiety is rising

Left and right body breathing - a breathing exercise which supports left and right breathing

Muscle tensing and releasing tool - a brief tension releasing exercise of tensing and relaxing one’s muscles 

If you still feel overwhelmed

You can text Chat Health: 07520 615 387

If you feel like you can't keep yourself safe right now, you can ring Childline or text YoungMind's Crisis Messenger service or text “SHOUT” to 85258

 A counsellor will be there to talk things through with you.

Tips

These top tips can help you with your emotional wellbeing:

Keep connected

Everyone communicates in different ways, and sometimes it can feel easier to talk about what’s on your mind via an online chat - you can use  Kooth and  ChatHealth  to do this.

Keep connected with your friends and family:

  • Arrange to watch a film at the same time as a friend and video call 
  • Arrange a cup of tea and virtual catch up with someone you know 
  • Go old school and write a letter (your gran will love it!)

Exercise

Although time outside is restricted, there are lots of ways to keep active and release your endorphins (happy hormone), which have a positive impact on mood.

It's okay to go for a walk or run, as long as you keep more than two meters away from other people and you only go once a day.

Physical exercise can mean lots of different things - running is not be for everyone, so why not think about the kind of exercise that you do enjoy, there are plenty of Youtube videos to inspire you.

Some things that you could try:

  • yoga is great for the body and mind, and you won’t need much space to practice. Once you get into it, you’ll be feeling really zen!
  • dance – the good thing about dance is that you don’t have to follow the rules or learn specific moves – stick on your favourite playlist and release your artistic expression.

Have a look at the many apps that are available - many  let you have a free trial and  allow you to pick a level of difficulty, so don’t panic if you're a total beginner! 

The NHS also has a list of free exercises for you to try out.

Personal care

As tempting as it is to stay in your pyjamas all day, nothing beats getting up and dressed to lift the mood - especially if you wear something that makes you feel good.

Take the time to look after yourself - a lot of people find putting on some make up, painting their nails or having a shave makes them feel much better about themselves.

Sleep! Balanced sleep is really important for good mental health, but it can also be a really useful self-care tool.

 If you are struggling, The Mental Health foundation have created ten top tips to getting good sleep.

Time away from technology

With so much information available online about COVID-19, it may feel overwhelming. 

Sometimes technology and social media can be a lifeline, but sometimes they can be completely overwhelming and it feels like notifications and messages are never ending.

When we feel like we are constantly attached to everyone and all that is happening in the wider world it can become exhausting.  

That’s one of the reasons why lots of people find time away from social media a really important part of their daily self-care - even if it does feel weird at first!

Random acts of kindness

Evidence shows that helping others is actually beneficial for your own mental health and wellbeing. It can help reduce stress, improve your emotional wellbeing and even benefit your physical health.

The Mental Health Foundation has some great ideas.

Listen to a podcast

Podcasts can be a helpful distraction. 

You can just put on your headphones and take some time out listening to something that you enjoy or that interests you. 

There are podcasts on many different topics from documentaries to comedies so you are certain to find something you will like.

Activities

These activities can help you protect your mental health and emotional wellbeing:

Download Staying Well at Home: Coping with Anxiety and Stress - Resource pack of exercises, quizzes and worksheets, can be printed or saved to your device (requires a pdf reader)

Download Staying Well at Home: Coping with feelings of Frustration and Anger - Resource pack of exercises, quizzes and worksheets, can be printed or saved to your device (requires a pdf reader)

Download Mindful colouring, from Between Sessions 

Download 'I Gotta Feeling' - a self-help guide for young people, to help cope with stress, from MindMate

Read 'The Little Book of Mindfulness' - a magazine style guide to using Mindfulness to help with stress and worries, from Medibank

Read guidance for managing stress from Psychology Tools - you may find this guidance helpful or managing stress and anxiety that may come COVID-19.

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