Chief Social Worker Sean Holland is urging people to look after their mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak.
Mr Holland said: “To support the fight against COVID-19, we have all been advised to stay at home and while we understand that this is absolutely the right thing to do – it can come with its own challenges.
“It is natural to feel worried or anxious during these uncertain times, but there are things we can all do to help ourselves and others, to prevent these feelings from becoming more serious.”
The Chief Social Worker continued: “We should continue to check up on friends, family and neighbours by phone or online and pursue the activities we are able to do from home and in line with guidance. Establishing a new routine is important along with other practical things like eating healthily, doing exercise and getting regular sleep. If you’re a parent or carer then developing a routine for your children can also be really helpful.”
Outlining the current support available Mr Holland said: “The new COVID-19 app for NI is a brilliant resource with advice and links to online mental health support. As is the Public Health Agency website where the ‘Take 5 steps to wellbeing’ has been adapted to take account of the current situation.”
“For those who already suffer with anxiety or other mental health issues this may present new and difficult challenges. So it’s important that people obtain further support if they feel they need it. For anyone in distress or despair, the 24/7 Lifeline helpline is available on 0808 808 8000 where trained counsellors are available to help.”
Mr Holland concluded: “It’s essential that we follow the advice and stay at home if we are to beat coronavirus and save lives. This situation is temporary and there are better days ahead but in the meantime I would encourage everyone to make use of the support that is available.”
Notes to editors:
1. For some tips from the Public Health Agency on how to look after your mental health while you stay at home visit. www.pha.site/StayAtHome
2. To download the Covid-19 NI app - search for Covid-19 NI on the Apple app store and Covid-19 NI on Google Play.
3. More information is also published on NI Direct: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-taking-care-your-mental-health-and-wellbeing
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