21st January 2021

If you have, or care for someone with, a mental health problem

If you already have a mental health problem, then you may be finding the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic particularly challenging.

With the announcement of a third lockdown, it’s normal to feel low, anxious, concerned or frustrated. It’s a difficult time, and we may be facing new challenges. Mind has some helpful advice around this.

Mind offer useful information about looking after your mental health during this time. This includes how to manage difficult feelings or behaviours to do with hygiene, washing or fears of infection.  It also covers managing symptoms of anxiety and panic or feeling trapped and claustrophobic.

During this stressful time of change, feelings of emotional distress, anxiety, loneliness and low mood are normal, but if you feel that you can no longer cope with day-to-day life, are thinking about self-harm or suicide, or experiencing or hearing voices (hallucinations), you should get immediate expert assessment and advice:

  • If you have already been given a Crisis Line number from a health professional, please call it.
  • If you’re under the care of a mental health team and have a specific care plan that states who to contact when you need urgent care, follow this plan.
  • Mind also provides information about how to plan for a crisis.
  • Find local crisis support services near you that can support you.
  • You can contact NHS 111 if you need urgent care but it’s not life-threatening.
  • In a medical emergency, call 999 if you are seriously ill or injured and your life is at risk. A mental health emergency should be taken as seriously as a physical health emergency.

If you or someone you care for is affected by dementia

The Alzheimers Society website offers detailed information and support in relation to coronoavirus for those affected by dementia and their carers.  If you are still feeling worried and want more help you can call the Alzheimer’s Society Helpline on 0300 222 11 22.

You can also speak to a dementia specialist Admiral Nurse on Dementia UK’s Helpline, on 0800 888 6687.

If you or someone you care for has a learning disability or autism

You may feel worried about Coronavirus and the changes happening in your life. This is normal. Talk about how you feel with people you can trust.

It is important to try to do the things you would usually do to keep well but safely. Click here for some easy read information about what we are now allowed to do and how to stay safe. If you have support from family or paid carers make a plan with them for what you can do in the day. Try to:

  • keep in touch and talk about how you’re feeling with people you trust (like friends, family and employer) over the phone, internet or keeping a safe distance of at least 2 metres outdoors. If you live alone and are not shielding, you can now visit friends or family indoors in one other house but you can only choose one.
  • eat the food you like and get some exercise either at home or outside if you can (making sure you stay at least 2 metres away from others)
  • make sure you keep taking any medication you are prescribed
  • only get information about coronavirus (COVID-19) from places you can trust, such as the NHS website

 There are also other things you can do to help you feel better, such as:

  • keeping a diary
  • using apps like Brain in Hand
  • learning relaxation techniques
  • thinking of other things to keep busy at home
  • creating a plan with your carer for when you are feeling worried.

For more information and support visit the Mencap website which also has an easy read guide about corona virus.

The National Autistic Society also has resources and information for people with autism and their families.

Greenwich Mencap provides care, advice and support for people with learning disabilities, difficulties, autism and their families.

The Greenwich Carers Centre is still offering a telephone service if you are a carer and need support.

More support for carers

Greenwich Mental Health Carers Peer Group
The carer peer support group allows carers who care for someone with metal illness to network and provide a safe confidential environment to share stories and experiences.  

The group looks to encourage carers to reduce isolation, support each other and build a network.

The Carer peer support group aims:

  • Help you to open up about what you are feeling and experiencing.
  • Introduce you to ideas and approaches that others have found helpful.
  • Reassure you that you’re not alone in how you are feeling.
  • Help you to connect with others and give you a sense of belonging.
  • Encourage you to value your strengths.
  • Seeks to Build your self-esteem and confidence.
  • Help you to feel more hopeful about the future.

The Greenwich MH Carer support group runs every 3rd Monday of the month. Visit Caring Mind Blog to find the next set of dates.

Greenwich MH Carers Forum
Carer led forum in Greenwich is for anyone caring for someone with a mental illness.  The forum allows discussions on mental health and social care services, but also allows engagement from those very services.

The forum is open to carers wanting to know more about mental health services and what they are doing to support the person they care for and also support carers.

The Greenwich MH Carer Forum runs every last Tuesday of the month from 4 – 5pm. Visit Caring Mind Blog to find the next set of dates.

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