Mental Health & Loneliness
Everyone’s mental well-being is being affected by the lock-down environment, but with so many other issues it is widely overlooked.
That’s why, we’re asking young people to share Three for 3. Write (or draw) three things you’re doing to look after your mental well being during this challenging time and share these ideas with three other people.
Once you’ve shared your three things, the people you’ve shared with should share their own three things with you and three others, keeping the conversation about wellbeing going. You can do this with your family, friends, or if you’re over 13 and have social media, by tagging people on social media using #Threefor3.
By taking action you’ll be helping other people find out new ways to support their wellbeing.
Remember, only share things you feel comfortable sharing, and remember – when something’s on the internet, it’s ‘out there’ for anyone to see and very difficult to delete permanently.
Talking about Coronavirus
Mind, the mental health charity, has some great info for young people who are worried about coronavirus and want to know how to cope with changes to their lives. Support from Mind
General Mental Health Info
Infectious disease outbreaks, like the current Coronavirus (Covid 19), can be scary and can affect our mental health. While it is important to stay informed, there are also many things we can do to support and manage our well being during such times.
Looking after your mental health while you have to stay at home
The government is now advising us to avoid all but essential social contact. This will mean that more of us will be spending a lot of time at home and many of our regular social activities will no longer be available to us. It will help to try and see it as a different period of time in your life, and not necessarily a bad one, even if you didn’t choose it.
It will mean a different rhythm of life, a chance to be in touch with others in different ways than usual. Be in touch with other people regularly on social media, e-mail or on the phone, as they are still good ways of being close to the people who matter to you.
Create a new daily routine that prioritises looking after yourself. Remain productive. For Leaders this may mean tackling tasks and admin you’ve been unable to complete or taking this an opportunity to complete training or review your risk assessments so we can hit the ground running when normal services resume again. For young people it might be an opportunity to practice a skill you’ve learnt or Scouts or for an event when we start back again.
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 more often than usual, for 20 seconds with soap and hot water (sing ‘happy birthday’ to yourself twice to make sure you do this for 20 seconds). You should do this whenever you get home or into work, blow your nose, sneeze or cough, eat or handle food. If you can’t wash your hands straightaway, use hand sanitiser and then wash them at the next opportunity.
You should also use tissues if you sneeze and make sure you dispose of them quickly; and stay at home if you are feeling unwell.
Try to stay connected
At times of stress, we work better in company and with support. Try and keep in touch with your friends, and family, by telephone, email or social media. Stay in touch with your Scouting friends especially any one vulnerable or may be more isolated than most. It would be fantastic for older sections such as Scouts, Explorers and Network to organise catch-ups via video conference and talk about what you’ve been up to.
Stay in touch with friends on social media but try not to sensationalise things. If you are sharing content, use this from trusted sources, and remember that your friends might be worried too.
Also remember to regularly assess your social media activity. Tune in with yourself and ask if they need to be adjusted. Are there particular accounts or people that are increasing your worry or anxiety? Consider muting or unfollowing accounts or hashtags that cause you to feel anxious.
Get as much sun light, fresh air and nature as you can
Spending time in green space or bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit both your mental and physical well being. It can improve your mood, reduce feelings of stress or anger, and make you feel more relaxed. Social distancing doesn’t mean you have to be contained indoors and there’s plenty you can do in the garden, local park or nature that doesn’t require you coming into contact with people.
It’s possible to still get these positive effects from nature while staying indoors at home if you are self isolating. You could try the following:
- Spend time with the windows open to let in fresh air.
- Have flowers or potted plants in your home.
- Arrange a comfortable space to sit, for example by a window where you can look out over a view of trees or the sky, or watch birds and other animals.
- Look at photos of your favourite places in nature. Use them as the background on your mobile phone or computer screen, or print and put them up on your walls.
- Listen to natural sounds, like recordings or apps that play birdsong, ocean waves or rainfall. Get as much natural light as you can. Spend time in your garden if you have one, or open your front or back door and sit on the doorstep.
It is important to:
- keep active
- eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of water
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.
Try to manage how you follow the outbreak in the media
There is extensive news coverage about the outbreak. If you find that the news is causing you huge stress, 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.
Free 2-Hour course for parents and carers: COVID-19 Helping Young People Manage Low Mood and Depression