Coronavirus (COVID-19) update – mental health support and service changes

Content originally from Essex County Council

Mental Health Awareness Week, Kindness, 18-24 May 2020
In the current climate it is so important to take the time to look after ourselves and our loved ones. Many people are missing their friends and family, their hobbies and interests, their routine and their work.

Changes and loss can have a profound impact on our wellbeing – be this loss of a loved one, the change in our relationships – including at home – loss of work and therefore routine or financial stability. Prolonged isolation and limited contact with others can negatively affect our moods and outlook.

These changes to our “normal” will almost certainly influence our mental health, maybe making us anxious, apprehensive and unsure about the future. This is perfectly understandable but there is no reason to suffer alone.  

Take time to check in – virtually – with each other, get outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine,  and if you need further help and support then there is a wealth of resources and organisations out there that have experience in all sorts of aspects of mental health. It’s been said that it is “ok to not be ok” and I think this message is so important as long as we all recognise when we aren’t ok and seek help.

I hope this newsletter is helpful to you all in this difficult and confusing time, but please do try and take care of yourselves and each other.

Dr Mike Gogarty
Director, Wellbeing, Public Health & Communities
Essex County Council

Ways for adults to stay active and healthy

We’ve gathered resources to help you stay healthy and active while staying at home.

Our staying well page includes information and advice on:

  • looking after your mental health when you are social distancing
  • online counseling and mental health services
  • national and local organisations providing support
  • things you can do to stay active at home
  • how to work safely and comfortably from home

Do you need support, information or advice?

If you or someone you know is feeling isolated, Essex Welfare Service (EWS) is here to help.

Anyone without help from family, friends, neighbours or the local community can contact EWS. Support is available from specialists in mental health, dementia care and more.

Regardless of your age, health or circumstance, EWS can support you.

If you, or someone you know, needs support you can:
request support
refer someone for support
phone 0300 303 9988

Let’s talk children’s mental health and wellbeing

It’s normal for your child to feel stressed or anxious during these uncertain times. This Mental Health Awareness Week, we’re encouraging parents and carers to have a conversation with their child about how they’re feeling. 
We’ve spoken to Steve Whitfield, a Senior Specialist Educational Psychologist. In this video, he talks about what support is available for parents and carers. This video could help you start those conversations and spot the signs a child is suffering with their mental health and wellbeing. 
Remember, you’re not alone – every family matters. For more resources to help you support your child’s wellbeing, visit our website

Download an app to help your mental wellbeing

The NHS has put together a list of recommended apps which can support you with your mental health. There’s HealthUnlocked, where you can meet people who have similar mental health issues; Big White Wall which connects you with therapists if you’re feeling stressed or anxious; Calm Harm, which helps young people manage emotions and reduce the urge to self-harm; and many, many more.

Browse mental health apps on the NHS website to find one that’s right for you.

Boost your mood with exercise

Would you like to improve your:
✔️ energy?
✔️ mental alertness?
✔️ self-esteem?
✔️ mood?
✔️ stress levels?

Then start changing the way you think about exercise! Don’t view it as something you have to do in order to lose weight, but instead as something that will bring countless benefits to your mental health and wellbeing. And it’s not all sweat, blood and tears either. Active Essex offers a range of low-impact exercise classes to do at home so you can boost your mood without pushing your limits.

Changes to our services

Our website includes information on what you should do, the latest changes to our services and how you can get help in your community.

Essex Country Parks now open

All Essex Country Parks reopened on Thursday 21 May.

The parks, car parks and toilets are open to the public. The children’s play equipment, visitor centres and cafes will remain closed, in line with government guidance.

We would ask that all visitors using the Country Parks follow social distancing rules, paying particular attention to these in areas such as the car parks and toilet facilities. 

New restrictions will be in place to ensure the safety of all visitors and staff. Please check for up to date information before visiting.