Let’s face it – we’ve all had enough of COVID-19. The fear of contracting the virus, social distancing, wearing masks, the closure of schools, leisure and entertainment facilities, the ban on travelling abroad, not to mention three national lockdowns – and counting. These are just a few of the endless ways that COVID-19 has impacted the whole country and for almost everyone, life has had to change fundamentally.
Not surprisingly, the sudden end of life as we knew it and the restrictions we now have to live under have had a serious physiological effect as well. Since the start of the pandemic research has shown that there’s been an increase in a range of adult mental health conditions, from low wellbeing, sleep problems and anxiety to depression.
But help is at hand. Public Health England (PHE), in partnership with the NHS has launched the Every Mind Matters campaign, a new way of empowering people of all ages to manage and improve their mental health and wellbeing and support others during this difficult time.
Your Mind Plan
Having good mental health helps us to relax more, achieve more and enjoy our lives more. That’s why at the heart of the campaign is Your Mind Plan. Answer five easy questions about your mental health priorities and any specific concerns you currently have and receive a suggested NHS-approved action plan which can then be tailored to fit in with your own particular lifestyle.
The Every Mind Matters website has been continuously updated to support people during the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes a COVID-19 hub with tips and support on a range of issues including how to deal with having to stay at home, coping with money worries or job uncertainty, coping with loneliness, and even tips to help you sleep better if the constant worry about the pandemic has left you struggling to sleep.
Tips to support children and young people
Of course the COVID-19 outbreak has also had a huge impact on the lives of children and young people across the country and many have struggled with social isolation, anxiety and fear of what the future may bring.
Every Mind Matters offers advice to parents and carers to help them spot the signs that children may be struggling with their mental health and offers support and top tips that can help maintain good mental wellbeing. The site also provides tools to help young people make the transition back to school, college or other formal education as smooth as possible as well as advice for those moving schools, those leaving school or college and help for those approaching exams.
A more positive future
With the COVID-19 vaccination programme now well underway, and with Spring just round the corner, there’s a lot of reasons to feel more positive about the future. Making just a few small lifestyle changes such as taking more exercise, eating more healthily or cutting back a bit on alcohol, can have a big impact on our physical and mental health.
It’s been a very tough year, and we’re not out of the woods yet. But what the pandemic has shown us is that we are a lot more resilient than maybe we first thought. Together we will get through this!