Public Health England News and Media

17 Apr 2020

COVID-19 MENTAL HEALTH CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED TODAY

THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE SUPPORT NEW EVERY MIND MATTERS ADVICE FOR LOOKING AFTER MENTAL WELLBEING

  • Data shows over 4 in 5 adults are worried about the effect that coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on their life right now, with over half saying it affected their wellbeing and nearly half reporting high levels of anxiety
  • Public Health England’s Every Mind Matters website includes new NHS expert tips and advice on looking after mental wellbeing and supporting your family and loved ones during this time
  • Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have narrated a powerful new film in support of campaign and to encourage people to look after their mental and physical wellbeing
  • Every Mind Matters campaign will be supported through social media, digital, national TV and partner support activity, helping to reach the audiences most at-risk of poor mental health

Public Health England’s Every Mind Matters platform has launched new advice, focussed on looking after people’s mental wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It has been updated after new data shows over 4 in 5 (85.2% ) Brits are worried about the effect that coronavirus is having on their life, with over half (53.1%) saying it was affecting their well-being and nearly half (46.9%) reporting high levels of anxiety.[1]

With many feeling worried, anxious or isolated during these challenging times, Every Mind Matters highlights that there are lots of things we can all do to look after our mental wellbeing and help others to prevent these concerns from becoming more serious.

The range of new resources, designed specifically to help manage our mental wellbeing during coronavirus, include a tailored COVID-19 Mind Plan, COVID-19 specific content for individuals and their loved ones, and support for specific mental wellbeing issues such as anxiety, stress, low mood and trouble sleeping. The website signposts people to activities such as mindful breathing exercises, help reframing unhelpful thoughts, and muscle relaxation.

To help get this vital message out there, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are supporting Every Mind Matters and have narrated a new short film which is set to be broadcast across national TV channels from Monday 20th April.

Everyone in the country has been affected by COVID-19 in some way, be it through staying at home and being separated from friends and family, uncertainty about work or education, or knowing someone with the virus. The film portrays a range of people whose lives have been affected by COVID19 and aims to reassure people that support is available and encourages everyone to take care of their mental wellbeing at this difficult time.

Alongside the new COVID-19 mental health support, Every Mind Matters encourages people to complete a personal ‘Mind Plan’, a quick and free interactive tool offering tailored mental well-being advice. More than 1.9 million ‘Mind Plans’ have been completed since the launch in October.

The NHS-endorsed content has been developed in partnership with clinicians, academics and leading mental health charities and social enterprises including Mind, Mental Health Foundation, Samaritans, Rethink, Mental Health First Aid England, and offers authoritative, evidence based and practical support to the general public, as well as people with specific mental health concerns.

NHS’s Top 5 Tips for maintaining mental wellbeing during the Coronavirus outbreak (please view all tips on the Every Mind Matters website)

  1. Talk about your worries: it is normal to feel worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. Maintain contact with friends and family via phone and video calls to share how you are feeling.
  2. Keep a regular routine and set goals: you may need to set a new routine for now. Try writing a plan for your day with the things you can still do at home, like watching a film, reading a book or completing a puzzle. Setting goals and achieving them gives a sense of control and purpose. Maintaining good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how you feel mentally and physically too, so it's important to get enough (the Every Mind Matters sleep page provides practical advice on how to improve your sleep).
  3. Manage your media and information intake: if 24-hour news and constant social media updates are making you worried, try to limit the time you spend watching, reading, or listening to coverage of the outbreak to once or twice a day.
  4. Do things you enjoy and try something new: focussing on your favourite hobby, learning something new, or simply taking time to relax indoors should give you some relief from anxious thoughts and feelings and can help boost your mood. Look online for lots of free tutorials and courses.
  5. Look after your body: our physical health has a big impact on how we feel. At times like these it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour that end up making you feel worse. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and exercise regularly. You can leave your house, alone or with members of your household, for one form of exercise a day – like a walk, run or bike ride. But make you keep a safe 2-metre distance from others.

Professor Paul Cosford, Emeritus Medical Director at Public Health England, said: During the coronavirus outbreak, it is natural for many of us to feel worried or anxious. There are things we can do to help ourselves and others, to prevent these feelings from becoming more serious. Every Mind Matters offers NHS-endorsed guidance on the simple actions we can take to maintain good mental wellbeing.”

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We have asked people to make unprecedented changes to their day-to-day lives as part of our national effort to respond to this global pandemic. Staying at home and not seeing friends and loved ones can take its toll and it is completely understandable to feel overwhelmed or anxious.

“It’s vital that we all look after our mental health in these challenging times, so today we are launching new guidance on the NHS Every Mind Matters website which is tailored to help people deal with this outbreak through practical tips and advice.

“Whether it’s through exercise, keeping to a routine, or trying something new – there is so much we can do to keep our minds healthy and prevent issues becoming more serious - and I’d encourage everyone to take advantage of this brilliant resource.”

Minister for Mental Health, Nadine Dorries said: “I know how scary a time this must be for many. We are all feeling something over Coronavirus – anxiety, fear of the unknown, or even just frustration at not being in control. It’s easy to forget that this is an unprecedented situation which is both physically and mentally draining.

“The new guidance that has been launched on the NHS Every Mind Matters website has been adapted, providing top tips for maintaining our mental well-being. We must all remember during these challenging times that while we are practicing social distancing for the physical health of ourselves and others, there is help out there to make sure we are taking care of ourselves mentally.”

Claire Murdoch, National Director for mental health and NHS England and Improvement, said: “At a time when as a country we face significant uncertainty which can be worrying and stressful, it has never been more important to keep well and look after our mental health.

“While we stay indoors to protect our loved ones and save lives, we must also think about ourselves and how we can protect our mental wellbeing which is why I am pleased Every Mind Matters reflects current pressures and am encouraging everyone who needs it to visit the website which includes advice on dealing with stress and anxiety.”

The campaign is backed by NHS psychiatrist, Dr Max Pemberton, who has shared his top tips for supporting mental wellbeing at this current time, including advice on managing your sleep and trying to stay positive (please see Notes to Editors for full range of tips).

For more information, search ‘Every Mind Matters’ or visit https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/ to create your personalised Mind Plan.

-ENDS-

[1] ONS: Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain. 16 April 2020: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthandwellbeing/bulletins/coronavirusandthesocialimpactsongreatbritain/16april2020

Contact Information

Alice Hugget-Smith
Public Health England
alice.huggettsmith@phe.gov.uk

Notes to editors

For interviews or additional information, please contact:

  • PHE Press Office: phe-pressoffice@phe.gov.uk / 020 7654 8400
  • freuds: everymindmatters@freuds.com / 07734785798 / 07912515997

Every Mind Matters film script, narrated by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge:

All over the country people are staying at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

It’s not always easy. We can feel frustrated, miss loved ones or get anxious.

So now, more than ever, Every Mind Matters.

There are things we can all do to look after our mental wellbeing at this time.

Every Mind Matters can help get you started with your NHS online plan.

Showing you simple steps to help deal with stress, boost your mood and feel on top of things.

Search Every Mind Matters to get your action plan today.

We’re in this together.

Public Health England’s new online guidance on gov.uk has set out principles to follow to help people to manage their mental being

Please use the following Dropbox link to download additional imagery and quotes: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/lmgxd41e3b585ja/AAA_-JGgGsA1zHP_OPNYl8uya?dl=0

  1. PHE exists to protect and improve the nation's health and wellbeing and reduce health inequalities. It does this through world-leading science, research, knowledge and intelligence, advocacy, partnerships and the delivery of specialist public health services. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health. It provides government, local government, the NHS, Parliament, industry and the public with evidence-based professional, scientific and delivery expertise and support. For more information on PHE

NHS psychiatrist, Dr Max Pemberton top tips for supporting mental wellbeing

“During this time, it’s completely normal to experience an array of different emotions – everyone reacts differently to changes and events going on in their lives. Alongside the Every Mind Matters platform, where you can get tips and advice about looking after your mental wellbeing, there are also some general principles that can help us through this unnerving period.

For me, the most important thing is to have a routine, where you can break up your day into sections, and exercise. There are so many programmes online and workouts you can do at home to keep your mind active. You must remember that throughout all this, you are not alone – speak to your family and friends. We will get through it and, with any luck, emerge from lockdown stronger than ever.”

“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. It is important to take care of your own mental wellbeing and wellbeing, and there is guidance on the Every Mind Matters platform. By adopting a new routine, setting goals, eating healthily and maintaining physical activity, we can stay in good mental wellbeing today and tomorrow.”

  1. Our physical and mental wellbeing are related. Looking after your body will help you look after your mind. Physical activity can have an extremely positive effect on your mental wellbeing. Even if this means doing a short work out at home, it can boost your mood.
  2. Managing your sleep well can benefit your mental wellbeing hugely. Not getting enough can affect concentration and reduce your energy levels, so make sure you try and keep regular sleep hours.
  3. Take a deep breath. Slow, measured breathing is an effective way of relaxing your mind and switching off from the outside world.
  4. Stay positive! The way we think, feel and behave are all linked. It might sound obvious but make a real effort to reframe unhelpful thoughts. Take a step back and see how you can think of things differently. When positive thinking becomes a habit, you will be happier and better prepared to handle the current situation.
  5. Don’t be afraid to seek support! We all need help sometimes. Make sure you reach out to people around you if you begin to struggle. And if you think someone is struggling with their mental wellbeing then do reach out to them. Not only could you have a positive impact on their life, but this can also build your own emotional strength.
  6. Learn something new. It’s important to do things that make you happy, whether that’s a brand new hobby or skill, which can take your mind off things. Setting goals is can be a great way to build your self-esteem and feel a sense of achievement.
  7. Create a routine. This is really important as life is changing in England for a while, and we need to adapt to our new living situation. Routine gives both children and adults an increased feeling of safety in the context of uncertainty, so maybe make a plan for the day that includes time for working, eating, relaxing, exercising etc.
  8. Stick to meal and bedtimes – many people working from home will have a schedule, but don’t be tempted to stay in bed or work longer hours. Eat at the times you usually would, as this can help you remain in your routine.
  9. Plan for the downtimes – everyone will feel different emotions due to what is going on, but it’s perfectly normal. Learn what helps you feel better - call a friend, listen to uplifting music or even have a hot bath to help you relax.
  10. Keep your mind active. Read, write, play games, do crossword puzzles, sudokus, jigsaws or drawing, cooking and painting. Find something that works for you and be creative!

Celebrity Quotes for Every Mind Matters

Please see a table below of all celebrities who have shared their tips and advice for maintaining good mental wellbeing during this time:

Celebrity

Quote

Davina McCall (presenter)

“To look after my mind and my mental health exercise is the number one thing I do. It is so important to stay active for mind and body, especially during times of isolation. There are so many options online to exercise at home and for free.

“Number two would be talk to friends and family. There are so many things that we can all do to help ourselves when we’re feeling down. It’s down to us as friends and parents to look out for people who are behaving slightly differently. Don’t just stop asking them if they’re okay, let them know you’re there.”

Harry Maguire (footballer)

“Speaking regularly to my friends and family is so important during this time. It doesn’t matter how – whether it’s via Skype, FaceTime or just a simple call.  It’s good to speak about how you’re feeling with others which supports everyone’s mental wellbeing. The conversations give me a lot of encouragement and positivity, which is exactly what everyone needs during self-isolation.”

Professor Green (musician)

“Lyrics aside I’ve been writing thoughts, feelings and observations down every day without thinking about how those feelings or thoughts might change so as they’re as raw and honest as they can be. The brilliant thing about this is how evident it quickly becomes after a few days that even the most negative thoughts pass. It’s great for perspective, and to remind yourself that nothing you feel is permanent.”

Nadiya Hussain

(GBBO star and chef)

“Anxiety can be completely deafening, and right now those suffering with anxiety might be feeling it worse than ever. For me, reaching out to people, talking to my loved ones, helps manage it. You are not alone, a lot of people will also be feeling anxious and scared, and speaking about it with someone you trust will help challenge that anxiety and calm your fears. It's so important to recognise if you're struggling with your mental health and seek out the support you need - and know that it's OK.”

Jesse Lingard

(England footballer)

“I'm doing yoga twice a week at home to look after my mental health. Speaking to my family on a regular basis is also really helpful as they give me support and make me feel connected. All of our lives have obviously changed a lot in recent weeks which can be confusing and make you feel anxious. Even during isolation I am trying to stay focused and set goals which has helped me maintain a routine and positive attitude.”

About Every Mind Matters: