9th April 2020

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 coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak particularly challenging.

Hopefully the information about staying well generally on these pages is helpful but there may be additional things that you might want to think about.  These include keeping taking your medication if prescribed and contacting your mental health team if you are receiving care to discuss how it will continue.

Mind offer comprehensive information about looking after your mental health, including 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 even 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.

Although most people now have to stay at home, try to do the things you would usually do to keep well. 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 or internet
  • eat the food you like and get some exercise either at home or once a day, 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.

Helping you Live Well in Greenwich

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