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Taking care of your mental health during Covid-19

Posted on 22 May 2020

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and as the challenges of the pandemic continue, it’s important that we all continue to be extra mindlful of our own mental health and the wellbeing of others during the coronavirus crisis.

With much of the recent messaging being about supporting each other – which remains a strong and important message – the Council wants people to make sure they themselves are coping with the crisis.

Councillor Joe Cullinane, Leader of North Ayrshire Council, said: “These are unprecedented and testing times for every single one of us.

“Our way of life, our routines, our hobbies and the things we love doing have been taken away from us. We all understand why but it’s a massive shift in how we operate.

“That can be very unsettling, sometimes without you even really knowing it. You might not even see the impact this is having on you.

“And this is all on top of the anxiety and worry many will have from the coronavirus. The impact it might have on you, a family member or friend. There is also the economic impact which can put a huge weight on your shoulders.

“So, more than ever, it’s absolutely vital that you look after yourself and your mental health.

Councillor Cullinane added: “Every situation is different, every individual is different. It’s okay saying be open and talk to people but some people might not be talkers and find that uncomfortable.

“What we would say is there are options for everyone. Don’t let things slide – your mental health is every bit as important as your physical health.”

The Council has issued some tips for staying safe and well:

  • Get timely, accurate and factual information about Covid-19 from a reliable source, no more than a couple of times a day.
  • If you are feeling stressed or anxious, consider how you feel when you have constant exposure to media coverage and graphic news stories.
  • Although it is important to stay informed, consider taking a break if you feel things are getting on top of you.
  • Take care of your basic needs. Eat and drink regularly and healthily. Always take regular breaks during shifts.
  • Allow time for sleep, rest and respite between shifts.
  • Try to stay as connected to your friends and family as much as possible via technology.
  • Maintain, where possible, your normal daily routine and a healthy diet, and get fresh air when you can, but keep practising social distancing.
  • Avoid using unhelpful coping strategies that involve alcohol, tobacco or an unhealthy diet.
  • Think about creating a consistent routine to ensure you get the amount of sleep you need, but also about ensuring your bedroom is quiet, dark and a relaxing environment to sleep

The Council has set up community hubs which will operate in each of the six localities – North Coast & Cumbrae, Garnock Valley, Irvine, Kilwinning, Three Towns and Arran.

Their purpose is to be a local point of contact for community need arising from Covid-19, responding with advice, signposting, referral and tasking of local volunteers.

The hubs will not be open for the public to visit but will be a base for a small coordination team to operate from.

Community hubs are on hand to help. If you are in an emergency situation and are having trouble accessing food, medicine or supplies, please contact your local community hub – contact details for can be found here.

There is also support available from NHS24 (111) or Breathing Space (0800 83 85 87) may also help.

You may find the following websites of assistance:

NHS Education for Scotland

NHS Inform

Support in Mind Scotland

Breathing Space

Mental Health Foundation

mental health