Mental Health Awareness Week
Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, the week takes place from 18-24 May 2020. The theme is kindness.
We all know that being kind is the right thing to do but did you know that kindness is good for you? A little act of kindness can boost your mental health, reduce stress and it can cheer you up to think of some else – not forgetting, of course, to be kind to yourself.
More details can be found in the letter attached here.
Protecting and Managing Mental Health During Covid-19
If you’re worried about the impact of coronavirus on your mental health, you are not alone. The COVID-19 pandemic is an uncertain time for all of us and will affect our mental health in different ways. Taking care of your mind as well as your body is really important while staying at home. You may feel bored, frustrated or lonely. You may also be low, worried or anxious, or concerned about your family finances, your health or those close to you. Please know, that all of these thoughts and feelings are completely normal, especially when we are thrown into situations in which we have no control. It’s important to remember that it is OK to feel this way and that everyone reacts differently. Remember, this situation is temporary and, for most of us, these feelings will pass. Staying at home may be difficult, but you are helping to protect yourself and others by doing it.
There are many things that we can do to try and maintain good mental through this period of unsettlement and isolation. Here are a few tips:
- Having some kind of routine is key to getting you through each day. When we have routine, it allows us to have some element of control which can be very reassuring and calming. So whether it be making a timetable that you to follow at home, or giving yourself small tasks or challenges each day, some structure will be hugely helpful to you.
- Exercise is so important not only for our physical health but for our mental health. When we exercise, we release endorphins or ‘happy hormones’ which instantly lift our mood. So if you can bring a little bit of exercise into each day e.g. a walk or run, short bike ride, walk the dog, jumping on your trampoline, then that will really help to boost your mental health.
- Keeping our minds active and occupied is also so important right now. Why not try learning a new skill or trying something that you’ve never tried before? You could do some baking, help with some DIY or gardening, paint or draw.
- As well as keeping our minds active, we must also take time to relax! Run yourself a bubble bath or watch your favourite movie.
- Do try to stay connected to your friends and family through FaceTime, Skype, Xbox…Communication through whatever means possible is vital. If you find that you are experiencing low mood, are struggling with negative thoughts and feelings then it is very important that you talk to someone.
If you would like some support and guidance, you may find the websites and apps listed below helpful. They come from the latest DFE guidance on supporting the wellbeing and mental health of young people and their mental health as well as our own recommendations. The link to this document is https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing
https://www.minded.org.uk/ (an educational resource for all adults on children and young people’s mental health)
https://riseabove.org.uk/topic/my-mind/ (videos with tips on gaining confidence, dealing with anxiety and coping strategies from other young people)
http://www.childhoodbereavementnetwork.org.uk/covid-19.aspx (advice on supporting grieving children during the coronavirus outbreak)
thinkninja https://www.healios.org.uk/services/thinkninja1 (App and website) ThinkNinja has updated their app and website with specific COVID-19 content. This will bring self-help knowledge and skills to children and young people (10-18 years old) who may be experiencing increased anxiety and stress during the crisis.
With everything as it is at the moment it is very easy to focus on the negatives, but we must try and find the positives too. Why not try one of these ideas?
Each day challenge yourself to find one positive thing. It doesn’t have to be anything big, it can be absolutely anything! for example;
I spoke to my friend on FaceTime and we made each other laugh…
I ate my favorite sweets…
I sat out in the garden and soaked up the sun…
Write your daily positive on a post-it note and stick them around your bedroom, on the fridge or somewhere that you can see them. Each time you find yourself feeling a little bit low, look at your positive post-its to remind yourself of all the good things that you have done/experienced each day!
On colorful pieces of paper, write or draw things that you would like to be able to do once you are able to get out and about again. These could be things that you have really missed doing or that you would just love to be able to do! Fill an empty jar with your all your ideas (you can keep adding to the jar as often as you like). For example;
have a sleepover with my friends…
have a game of football at the park…
go to the cinema…
This is a great way of staying positive and motivated as it will give you things to look forward to and to get excited about!
Do try to stay connected to your friends and family through FaceTime, Skype, Xbox…Communication through whatever means possible is vital. If you find that you are experiencing low mood, are struggling with negative thoughts and feelings or would just like some support and guidance, you may find the websites and apps listed below helpful. If you would like some specific help with things that you finding difficult or struggling with during this time of isolation, I would be happy to give you some support.