The coronavirus pandemic and the re-introduction of national lockdown can affect our mental health.

During an infectious disease outbreaks, you may have to learn to cope with new and changing situations. Be aware that it may take time to adjust to necessary changes. It is important to take things at your own pace and be kind to yourself.

Some days you may feel fine and other days not: remember it is important to look after your mental health during this time. NHS Every Mind Matters website has loads of useful advice and there are helplines if you need someone to talk to. You can find all this information on Central Bedfordshire Council website in full.

If you are unable to cope with your mental health and it is disrupting your everyday life, seek professional help and talk to your GP.

You can access mental health support 24/7 by calling NHS 111 and choosing option number 2.

Every Mind Matters

Tips on staying well

  • Preparing for winter: MIND has some useful tips on how to adapt your routine.
  • Connect with others: Stay connected via email, social media, video calling and telephone. If you haven’t got  anyone to talk to or you are struggling, you can call emotional support lines like the NHS volunteer service who provide a ‘check in and chat’ service call 0808 196 3646 or one of the helplines below.
  • Be active: Our physical health affects how we feel. Visit www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise for information and advice.
  • Take notice and focus on the present: Find out more about being mindful on the NHS website.
  • Stick to the facts and limit your news intake. Do not stay glued to the news. And when you do check, use trustworthy sources such as GOV.UK or NHS.
  • Have a routine. Wake up and go to bed at healthy times, get enough sleep. Include time to relax. For tips on sleep visit Every Mind Matters.
  • Do something you enjoy and keep your mind active. Find something of value in your day and do something for yourself (watch a favourite programme, do crosswords, art and crafts, cooking, gardening, reading a book)
  • Work and finance, You might be worried about money, have lost your job or are concerned you might become unemployed – these issues can have a big impact on your mental health and wellbeing. Visit the Every Mind Matters website for tips and advice on coping with money worries and job uncertainty during COVID-19.
  • Looking after a child or young person. The past few months have been hard on everyone, including our kids. Find tips on supporting children or young people at Every Mind Matters.

If you need to speak to someone, you can text or call:

Accessing local support when you’re struggling

  • Bedfordshire Wellbeing Service: A range of confidential talking therapies and specialist support. Visit bedfordshirewellbeingservice.nhs.uk. Call: 01234 880400 or email elt-tr.bedfordiapt@nhs.net. Email is quicker than calling at the moment.
  • Kooth: Online counselling for young people. Visit www.kooth.com
  • Mind BLMK: Go to www.mind-blmk.org.uk/ to find out the support where you live. Or call 0300 330 0648 and email hq@mind-blmk.org.uk.
  • Mind Crisis Café: Phone support is available Tuesday to Friday, 5 – 11pm on 01525 722225
  • Crisis Support 24/7: Call 111 option 2. Mental health crisis support in Bedfordshire and Luton 24/7 for all ages
  • Path to Recovery: Substance Misuse and Addiction Service Tel: 0333 332 4019 or visit the website.

Domestic abuse: if you’re feeling unsafe, support is available

Household isolation instructions as a result of coronavirus do not apply if you need to leave your home to escape domestic abuse. Support is available, both locally and nationally, to anyone who is experiencing abusive behaviour: you are not alone.

If you or someone you know is affected by domestic abuse, call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247. You can also visit the Bedfordshire Domestic Abuse Partnership website for more information about local and national support for all affected by domestic abuse, including men, children and young people, older people and people from the LGBT+ community. If you’re in immediate danger, always dial 999.