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During the national lockdown which was in place in the first half of this year to ‘flatten the curve’ and stop the spread of COVID-19, many people struggled with its impact on their mental health. As we head into a second national lockdown, you might be worried about how you and those you love will cope.
But there are simple and effective ways to help yourself – and others – to feel better. As we begin a second national ‘lockdown’, we are sharing the top ten things we can all do to look after our mental wellbeing during these difficult times:
Looking after yourself
- Be kind to yourself. At the start of May this year, Mental Health Awareness Week focussed on the theme of ‘kindness’, and we shared a list of simple ways to be kind to yourself during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lots of us struggle to treat ourselves kindly. In fact, we’re often nicer to others than we are to ourselves. Show yourself compassion when things aren’t going well, try to put less stress and pressure on yourself, and take a few minutes to focus on your good qualities.
2. Get outside. We know it’s much harder as the days get shorter and colder, but there’s a wealth of evidence that being in daylight and visiting any green, leafy spaces near you can really boost your mood. So wrap up warm, and try and get outside in your local area. Enjoy the crisp autumnal leaves or watch the sunset.
3. Get moving any way you can. This year, although gyms and leisure centres have closed, so many people took up cycling, regular walks around their neighbourhood, and of course at-home workouts (maybe you joined in with PE with Joe Wicks?). Moving more is good for your mind and body. Find an activity that you enjoy, and make it part of your daily routine. Our A Weight Off Your Mind webpages have lots of resources to help you find a physical activity that’s right for you.
- Get a good night’s sleep. In May, research showed that more than four in 10 adults have been experiencing trouble sleeping during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re struggling to sleep due to worry or stress, that’s understandable – take a look at our Sleeping Problems self help guide to find techniques that might help. Our relaxation tracks can help you to let go and drift off. Public Health England’s Every Mind Matters website also includes NHS-approved expert tips and advice on improving your sleep.
- Look out for burnout. Many of us are working harder than ever. If you’re working from home, it can be hard to switch off from work, and you don’t have colleagues around to stop and have a break with. If you still have to go into work, or are returning to work, this can be filled with anxieties too. The Mental Health Foundation have a useful webpage with advice on looking after your mental health while working during coronavirus which covers these topics and more.
- Focus on hobbies that you enjoy, or learn something new that you can enjoy during the restrictions. As we approach the festive season, why not make some handmade cards or presents for people? It’s a great way to show them how much you care even if you can’t be together, and can be a fun family activity. Whatever you choose, learning new things can give your mental health a boost with a sense of achievement.
Looking out for others
- Be kind to others. The first national lockdown saw a flurry of kind community spirit – people left notes offering help to their neighbours, and drew rainbows to display in their windows, providing hope and joy through the difficult times. Get involved any way you can, however small. Simply checking on a friend can make a huge difference to their day. It will boost their mood, and yours too.
- Where restrictions allow, visit loved ones who need you. If your loved one is currently being cared for in one of CNTW’s wards or units, you can still visit them during this lockdown – so long as you take the right precautions. We know how vital these visits are to people’s wellbeing. (Please contact the relevant ward team to discuss visiting procedures with them ahead of time.) You can also still visit people in your support bubble at the moment. (Read about who can be in a support bubble and how it works.)
Getting help early
- Find out where to seek help if you or someone you know is struggling. If you need urgent help with your mental health, our Freephone crisis phone numbers are available 24/7. The North East and North Cumbria Suicide Prevention Network also has a directory of services, helplines and resources that might be useful to you.
- Remember that the NHS is still here for you. All of our specialist services are still taking referrals and supporting people. If you have a healthcare appointment, please keep it. Some things may look and feel different, but we are doing our best to support you safely, and if you’re worried about something you can still seek help. You shouldn’t put off seeing a doctor about a physical health condition, and the same goes for your mental health: the earlier you seek help, the better.
For more advice on looking after your mental health during lockdown, check out this simple guide to looking after yourself and others produced earlier this year by the North East and North Cumbria Suicide Prevention Network.
NHS Test and Trace App
- The national NHS Test and Trace App is now available.
- The app is key part of the country’s fight against COVID-19.
Members of the public are strongly encouraged to download the app to their smartphones now. The app is available via the Google Play Store and Apple App Store
It will be used, alongside traditional contact tracing, to notify users if they come into contact with someone who later tests positive for coronavirus.
Find out more about the app here
On this page:
Select heading links below to view information on this web page.
- Symptoms and advice
- How long to stay at home
- How to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus
- Updated GOV.UK guidance from 1 June 2020
- Mental wellbeing and keeping safe during the coronavirus outbreak
- Emergency support line for vulnerable people needing urgent help
- COVID-19 Testing sites in Cumbria
- Information on Red Hubs
- PPE for Personal Assistants
- Links to helpful information
- Guidance for health professionals
Further information section - this includes:
- Advice videos with Dr Craig Melrose
- More information on the support helpline
- Easy Read documents and further resources including information for Disabled Children
- North East & North Cumbria Integrated Care System - Regional Info Links and Advice
- Chief Medical Officer Statement
- Media Enquiries
- High temperature
- New continuous cough
- Loss of taste or smell
No one in your household should leave home if any one person has symptoms.
Find out how to get a test, and how long to isolate, at:
- Information on testing in Cumbria
You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home.
Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you're staying at home.
- if you have symptoms, stay at home for 7 days
- if you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms
- If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.
If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.
- wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- always wash your hands when you get home or into work
- use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
- try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
COVID-19: management of staff and exposed patients and residents in health and social care settings
The link above takes you to guidance which provides advice on the management of staff and patients or residents in health and social care settings according to exposures, symptoms and test results. It includes:
- staff with symptoms of COVID-19
- staff return to work criteria
- patient exposures in hospital
- resident exposures in care settings
COVID-19: guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable
Information for shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from COVID-19.
The link above takes you to guidance for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable, including children. It’s also for their family, friends and carers.
People who are clinically extremely vulnerable should have received a letter telling them they’re in this group or been told by their GP.
It’s for situations where a clinically extremely vulnerable person is living at home, with or without additional support. This includes clinically extremely vulnerable people living in long-term care facilities for the elderly or people with special needs.
If you have been told that you’re clinically extremely vulnerable, you should:
NHS 111 has a specialist online Coronavirus help service. Use this service if:
- you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
- your condition gets worse
- your symptoms do not get better after 7 days
Please only call 111 if you cannot get help online.
Cumbria County Council and partners launched an emergency support service for people at high risk of becoming seriously ill, as a result of COVID-19, and who do not have support available from friends, family or neighbours.
The Emergency telephone support line is 0800 783 1966.
Or you can email your request for help to: COVID19support@cumbria.gov.uk.
The telephone ‘call’ centre will operate Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5pm and 10am to 2pm at weekends. The service will also accepts referrals from members of the public who may be concerned about people in their community.
Testing for Covid-19 is now available to people in Cumbria at a range of locations. Four sites can be accessed by anyone who is an essential worker, with a further four sites currently testing health and social care staff only (including the independent and voluntary sectors). Find out more here
During the current COVID-19 outbreak, patients experiencing certain symptoms (breathing issues and / or fever), patients who are self isolating because a member of their household has symptoms, and who have been telephone assessed by a GP to need a face-to-face examination will be called to one of our local 'Red Hubs'.
If you are in receipt of direct payments and use these for a personal assistant who does not already receive Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from the NHS or other sources then you can access PPE through Cumbria County Councils Emergency PPE Helpline. The helpline can be contacted between 9.00 and 17.00 Monday to Friday and 10.00 to 14.00 at the weekend. The number for the Emergency PPE Helpline is 0800 783 1967.
- COVID-19: guidance on social distancing and for vulnerable people
(including language translations)
- Cumbria County Council's Coronavirus (COVID-19) information
- MENCAP - Easy read information about COVID-19
- Bereavement support in Cumbria information
If people have questions about care homes / domiciliary care they need to make contact via the following email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The latest Coronavirus NHS guidelines translated into 26 languages
- COVID-19: Guidance for health professionals
- When to use a surgical face mask of FFP3 respirator (for healthcare staff)
- COVID-19: Advice for care homes, supported living and home care
- NHS posters - hospitals, GP practices and community pharmacies (Updates to materials including a poster for GP practices to use to help explain to patients what they should do if they need to speak to the practice about something not related to COVID-19. It is designed to be used on practice entrances, on their websites and on social media. Download here.)
Advice on the Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Care Workers, Social Workers and Occupational Therapists During the COVID-19 pandemic:
Advice on what to do if you think you have coronavirus
Why it's important to stay at home
NHS teams are working hard for you
What the NHS has been doing to prepare for coronavirus
The helpline 0800 783 1966 is there to support those at ‘high risk’ and include people over 70 years old, pregnant women and those with underlying health conditions who should be protecting themselves by staying at home. The majority of these people will already be receiving support from family, friends or local voluntary groups with tasks like shopping or collection of medicines if they require it. But we know that a small number of people will not have this support. If they have no alternative, these people will now be able to call the Freephone number to request help with getting food, medicines, essential supplies and home deliveries.
Cumbria County Council has been working closely with District Councils, CVS, Cumbria Community Foundation, community and voluntary sector, private sector and military to establish these new arrangements. To support the new helpline every area is coordinating a supply of essential food, medicines and supplies which can only be accessed via the emergency helpline or email. The requests received asking for help will then be matched with local support and supplies being offered by community groups, volunteers, councils and businesses.
Cumbria is already seeing widespread community and voluntary sector support for the response to COVID-19 and informal support, including neighbourhood WhatsApp groups and community Facebook groups, alongside a commitment from existing community emergency planning groups, local churches and faith groups and formal voluntary sector organisations who are working with the county council and partners including District Councils and NHS.
Easy Read Documents (select to view and download PDF versions)
Further Resources including information for Disabled Children
- National Autistic Society – guidance and helpline for parents’, young people and staff
- Mencap - Easy Read guide to Coronavirus
- Place2Be – Guide to helping parents answer questions from their children and to support family wellbeing
- Young Minds - Talking to your child about Coronavirus and 10 tips from their Parents Helpline to support family wellbeing
- Carers UK - Guidance for carers
- Covibook – an interactive resource designed to support and reassure children aged 7 and under, designed to help children explain and draw the emotions that they might be experiencing during the pandemic
- Amaze - information pack for parents
- "Keep calm and take sensible steps to protect yourself and others urges region’s NHS"
Regional Press Release from the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System (19 March 2020)
- North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Medical Director, Prof Chris Gray, speaking to ITV highlighting that the practice of social distancing is a 'life saving intervention' at this time.
We can get through this together:
Stay calm and support each other:
Using Services Wisely:
The Chief Medical Officer has stated, NHS services are likely to come under intense pressure as the coronavirus spreads, and we need to ensure that we have as many beds available as possible to care for patients with severe respiratory problems when the number of infections peaks.
Therefore, in line with well-established plans for situations like this, every hospital in England has now been asked to suspend all non-urgent elective operations from 15 April for at least three months, with some other procedures likely to be rescheduled before then so we can train our staff and adapt certain areas.
Urgent and emergency cases and cancer treatments will be carrying on as normal, but we know many people waiting for treatment will be disappointed or worried, and we will be contacting everyone affected as soon as possible.