Looking after your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak

Infectious disease outbreaks, like the current Coronavirus, can be scary and can affect our mental health. While it is important to stay informed, there are many things we can do to manage our wellbeing. 

Here are some tips we hope will help you, your friends and your family to look after your mental health. 

Try to avoid speculation and look up reputable sources on the outbreak 

Rumour and speculation can fuel anxiety. Having access to good quality information about the virus can help you feel more in control. 

You can get up-to-date information and advice on the virus here: 

Follow hygiene advice such as washing your hands often (particularly after using public transport), using tissues if you sneeze or cough and disposing of them, and staying at home if you are feeling unwell. 

Try to stay connected and remain calm 

At times of stress, we work better in company and with support. Try and keep in touch with your friends and family or contact a helpline for emotional support.  

It is a good idea to stick to your daily routine. You may also like to focus on the things you can do if you feel able to: 

The advice above is good for both our mental and physical health. 

Try to anticipate distress 

It is normal to feel vulnerable and overwhelmed as we read news about the outbreak, especially if you have experienced trauma or a mental health problem in the past.  

It’s important to acknowledge these feelings and remind each other to look after our physical and mental health. We should also be aware of and avoid increasing habits that may not be helpful in the long term, like smoking and drinking.  

Try and reassure people you know who may be worried. 

Try not to make assumptions 

Don’t judge people and avoid jumping to conclusions about who is responsible for the spread of the disease. The Coronavirus can affect anyone regardless of gender, ethnicity or sex. 

A caring and supportive stance improves the chances of prevention and recovery. And remember that not every cold or cough is the Coronavirus. 

Try to manage how you follow the outbreak in the media  

There is lots of news coverage about the outbreak.  If you find that the news is stressing you out, it’s important to find a balance.  It’s best that you don’t avoid all news and that you keep informing and educating yourself, but limit your news intake if it is bothering you.  

Talk to your children 

Involving our family and children in our plans for good health is essential. We need to ask children what they have heard about the outbreak and support them.  

Let’s not avoid the ‘scary topic’ but engage in a way that is appropriate with them. We have more advice on talking with your children about world news