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A guide for young people Coronavirus and mental health

Tips, advice and guidance on where you can get support for your mental health during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic

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You are not alone

If you’re worried about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on your mental health, you are not alone.

The Covid-19 pandemic is an uncertain time for all of us, so it is only natural that it will affect our mental health in different ways. The important thing to remember is that however you are feeling right now is valid. With the right help and support, you can get through this.

Whatever you are going through right now, we have information and advice that can really help.

If you find yourself feeling down during self-isolation, it can be very easy to slip into the mindset that you are alone, but this isn’t the case.
Laura, 21

I am anxious about the easing of restrictions

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  • After being in lockdown for so long, it’s natural to have mixed feelings about the easing of restrictions. There’s no need to feel guilty if you’re not as excited as some other people are. Remember that it's okay to take things at your own pace.
  • It's totally normal to feel worried about the rules and regulations changing. But if you find you're worrying so much that it’s becoming hard to do other things, speak to a friend or trusted adult about how you're feeling.
  • If you’re unsure how to start a conversation about mental health, check out our reaching out for help page.
  • Louisa, 17, shares her tips for coping with anxiety about change.
  • If you have been shielding during the pandemic, the easing of restrictions may feel especially scary. This is completely understandable, but remember that restrictions are only easing because lots of experts have said it’s safe. If you are feeling really nervous, try taking small steps – for example, you could start by going on a small walk each day and slowly increase the time you are out for. There’s no rush, so take things at your own pace.
  • If you're feeling anxious about seeing people and socialising again, read our blogger Molly's tips for coping with social anxiety.
  • Gigi, 25, has also shared how she's coping with social anxiety as lockdown eases.
Even just going out with my friends can be a challenge at the moment, but we have found that little and often is the best way to make progress and readjust to being in public.
Kerry, 16

I am struggling with school

  • After so long studying from home, it's natural to feel anxious about going to school. However you're feeling is valid and you are not alone.
  • If you're worried about catching Covid-19, remember that everyone is doing their best to prevent that from happening, and your school wouldn't have been able to reopen if it wasn't safe.
  • If you are experiencing bullying, have a look at our bullying page for more information, tips and advice.
  • If you are struggling with an eating problem and are finding it hard to adjust to being at school again, have a look at our eating problems page.
Of course I’m scared, but with courage and support from others I’ll get there and so will you.
Fatimah, 17

I’m feeling anxious all the time

A lot of people are finding things tricky at the moment, and allowing myself to recognise that these are difficult times for everyone and that it’s okay to struggle has really helped my anxiety surrounding this situation.
Madeleine, 19

My mood is low because of all the bad news

  • Set your limits

    Limit the time you spend checking the news and try to follow social media accounts that keep you positive and make you smile. Accounts like @the_happy_broadcast on Instagram only post good news stories.

  • #OwnYourFeed

    We have loads of tips on cleaning up your social media feed for a more positive time online - take a look at #OwnYourFeed.

  • Follow us

    Follow the YoungMinds Instagram account! @youngmindsuk

I am struggling with self-isolation and social distancing

Here are our tips on dealing with life under quarantine.

Things you can do during quarantine or self-isolation

  • Learn a language

    If you want to use this time to learn a language or brush up on your language skills, there are lots of resources available online. We like Duolingo and Drops, which both help you get to grips with the basics of a number of languages with fun games, and can both be downloaded as smartphone apps.

  • Learn something new

    If you fancy learning something new, FutureLearn has a number of courses available, including many free courses - you can learn about anything from history, to psychology to science!

  • Try some indoor exercise

    If you want to get a bit of exercise from the comfort of your home, Joe Wicks, a fitness trainer, is uploading home workouts every day, which are all available on YouTube.

  • Practise mindfulness and meditation

    You could also use the time to practise mindfulness. Apps like Calm and Headspace offer loads of guided meditations. We also have a blog from Rachel, 17, on how she practises mindfulness for her mental health.

Your wellbeing is always the most important thing to take care of, particularly at times like this. It is okay to be upset now but remember that we’re all in this together, and there are always going to be people who will listen and who you can talk to.
Elsa, 18

I am struggling to manage my eating disorder

Eating disorders thrive on isolation so turn your meal times into social activities over the phone or on Skype!
Hope Virgo, author and mental health campaigner

I have lost a loved one due to coronavirus

  • Dealing with loss is difficult and there is no right way to react when someone dies. We all experience loss differently.
  • Please read our advice from other young people who understand what it is like to deal with grief and loss.

What else can I do to look after my mental health?

  • Visit our blog for real stories from young people getting through the coronavirus pandemic, self-care tips and finding help.
  • Visit our find help section for more advice and information on looking after your mental health.
As hard as it can be when you have no deadlines, it is important to try and keep a regular routine.
Dhyana, 18

Get help now

See below for a list of organisations and helpline services that have information to support you.

  • YoungMinds Textline

    Text YM to 85258

    Provides free, 24/7 text support for young people across the UK experiencing a mental health crisis.

    All texts are answered by trained volunteers, with support from experienced clinical supervisors.

    Texts are free from EE, O2, Vodafone, 3, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile and Telecom Plus.

    Texts can be anonymous, but if the volunteer believes you are at immediate risk of harm, they may share your details with people who can provide support.

    Opening times:
    24/7
  • The Mix

    Offers support to anyone under 25 about anything that’s troubling them.

    Email support available via their online contact form.

    Free 1-2-1 webchat service available.

    Free short-term counselling service available.

    Opening times:
    4pm - 11pm, seven days a week
  • Childline

    If you’re under 19 you can confidentially call, chat online or email about any problem big or small.

    Sign up for a free Childline locker (real name or email address not needed) to use their free 1-2-1 counsellor chat and email support service.

    Can provide a BSL interpreter if you are deaf or hearing-impaired.

    Hosts online message boards where you can share your experiences, have fun and get support from other young people in similar situations.

    Opening times:
    9am - midnight, 365 days a year
  • Boloh

    Supports Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic children (11+), young people and parents and carers who have been affected by Covid-19. You can call to talk through any worry or problem, including around issues such as bereavement, physical or mental health, financial issues or unemployment, or bullying and racism.

    You can speak to someone in English, Gujarati, Urdu, Bengali, French, Spanish, Arabic, Punjabi, Mirpuri, Pothwari, Hinko, Hindi and Sundhi. Interpreters are available for other languages.

    Webchat service available here during opening hours.

    Opening times:
    10am - 8pm, Monday - Friday; 10am - 3pm on Saturdays and Sundays
  • NHS Urgent Mental Health Helpline (England only)

    Offers mental health support and advice, help to speak to a mental health professional, and can arrange an assessment to help decide on the best course of care.

    Opening times:
    24/7