Home Coronavirus: Help and support Looking after your mental health as lockdown restrictions ease
Coronavirus mental health support

Looking after your mental health as lockdown restrictions ease

by Jonathan Kearney

For many, the gradual easing of lockdown means more opportunity to meet with friends and family and take part in activities that were previously restricted.

For some there will also be increased anxiety and a strain on mental health as we re-adjust to another change in circumstances.

Just as people were forced to cope with changes during lockdown, managing the transition back to ‘normal life’ may take its toll on people’s mental health.

The vast majority of us have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic in some way, whether it’s the loss of a loved one, spending more time alone or financial concerns. With some parts of society starting to reopen, such as non-essential retail and the hospitality sector, this may also cause anxiety as face-to-face contact starts to slowly resume. Everyone’s circumstances are different but it’s important to recognise that feeling anxious, concerned or confused is completely normal and understandable.

Support available

If you’re feeling anxious, worried or low, Kind to Your Mind has lots of advice and useful resources to help look after your mental health. It is home to ALMA – the dedicated health and wellbeing website developed by the NHS and councils in Cheshire and Merseyside for local people. Here you can access a range of free online therapy programmes which include short modules on dealing with stress, getting better sleep, improving resilience and coping with your emotions.

Some useful tips:

Talk about your feelings – when you’re upset, worried or feeling down it can help to talk to family or friends. If you know someone who may be struggling, encourage them to talk.

Keep in touch with others –Keep in touch with friends and family via phone and video calls, or sending a message.

Accept what you can’t control  – If you’re feeling overwhelmed or struggling with feelings of uncertainty, try to focus your attention on the positive, those simple things that happen day to day which can help make a difference to how we feel. Try as well to limit how often you check news updates or social media if these make you feel worse.

Make time – to look after yourself especially if you’re looking after others.  We’re permitted daily outdoor exercise during the lockdown so why not use that time to go for a walk you could also read a book or do something else indoors that you enjoy.

Drink less alcohol – if you’re feeling low, alcohol can make you feel worse as it is a depressant. By limiting the amount you drink will also help you sleep better and may help improve your mood.

Support for people of all ages

Young people in Knowsley aged between 10 and 19 years can access free counselling and wellbeing support with Kooth, the online mental wellbeing community for young people. The online support is free, safe and anonymous and provides advice on a range of topics. Young people can chat to the friendly Kooth community or speak to a member of the Kooth team.

Meanwhile, the Young Minds website has some really useful advice for children and young people and parents/ carers.

The Silver Line is a helpline which operates 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year for anyone aged 55 and over. It is free to call on 0800 4 70 80 90 from a mobile or landline.

Check out our compilation of resources and mental health support for people of all ages.

Help in a crisis

There are also dedicated crisis helplines, including 24/7 support for people of all ages living in Knowsley, including children and young people. If you need immediate help, call 0800 051 1508.

Samaritans are available 24/7 for anyone who needs to talk by calling 116 123 for free.

SHOUT is the text messaging support service for anyone who is struggling to cope, simply text SHOUT to 85258  for free, confidential, anonymous support 24/7 via text message.

Remember you are not alone and help is only a phone call away.