During a physical health scare, it’s important to remember to look after your mental health. It is very important to follow public health advice when it comes to containing the spread of a virus — practicing good hand hygiene, using tissues to cough or sneeze into — but the constant news cycle and information can cause a real issue for those who suffer from mental health problems, such as anxiety, OCD, panic disorder, agoraphobia or depression.
For those with pre-existing physical health problems that puts them more at risk of complications from viruses, this can be a frightening time, and it’s important to look after your mind as well as your body during the outbreak.
The best thing to do is to follow advice from official sources, such as Public Health England, Public Health Wales, Health Protection Scotland and Gov.uk. For travel advice, visit the Home Office website for up-to-date guidance.
The constant news cycle can be anxiety inducing, so it may be best during this time to limit the amount of time you spend watching the news on the television and checking news websites and apps. While it’s a good idea to keep up-to-date with the latest health advice, it is sensible to avoid excessive news consumption if you feel as though it’s having a detrimental affect on your mental wellbeing. This could be an increase in anxiety, obsessiveness, rumination or feeling down.
Make sure to stay connected with friends face to face and via social media, but make sure that you are able to fact check any information you see on social media.
You know yourself better than anyone else, so if you think spending more time on social media and news apps is having a detrimental effect on your mental health, take a break.
It’s ok to feel frightened and worried during this time — acknowledging these feelings is the first step. If you need extra support, visit the Hub of Hope to relevant relevant services near you, text HOPE to 85258.