COVID-19: Looking after your mental health – for young people and their parents and carers 

Disclaimer: This resource provides information, not advice. Please read the full disclaimer at the end of this resource.

During this time, you might be feeling quite worried about how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect you, as well as the lives of your friends, family or other people you know. It’s completely normal to have these feelings. But if you’re finding that these feelings are making you feel upset or you are worrying regularly, then it’s important that you talk to someone. There is a lot of support out there to help young people cope

It’s easy to feel anxious and overwhelmed when you’re constantly hearing a lot of negative news. So, it’s important that you don't keep checking the news or social media for updates on COVID-19. This can be difficult, but many people find it helpful to set a limit on how many times a day they check the news. Some people set themselves two or three times a day to check the news. This can help cut down the amount of time you spend thinking about it. Make sure that you get your information about COVID-19 from reliable sources like the government website, rather than from social media, which can often share a lot of incorrect information and can make you more worried. 

Keep a routine

It’s important to try and create a routine for yourself while you’re at home and stick to it as much as you can. Your routine should be different for weekdays and weekends, and could include things like school or study time, exercise, catching up with friends, or doing other things you like such as art or watching TV. Setting a daily routine can help give structure and balance to your day.

Focus on doing activities you enjoy

Focus on doing activities that you enjoy and make you feel calm, making sure you fit some of those into your daily routine. Find a relaxing activity, like yoga, mindfulness, meditation, listening to music, or art. You might even want to think about learning something new – there are lots of opportunities online for learning new things.

Take care of yourself

Try and eat a balanced diet, stick to a regular sleep pattern (getting up and going to sleep at the same time each day), and get some regular exercise, including going out once a day for fresh air.  

Keep in touch with friends and family

Make sure you keep in touch regularly with friends and family, through messaging, video calls or phone calls. You can be creative with others by doing things like quizzes, cooking or artwork at the same time, even if you’re not with them in person. This is a good way to catch up with people you might not see as much, and to reach out to those you think might be feeling lonely or who live on their own, like grandparents or older neighbours.  

Use social media positively

Social media can be a great way of keeping in touch during the COVID-19 pandemic, but if you are finding that some of what you are seeing or reading is getting you down, then you may need to change what you are doing. Find sites and online communities that make you feel better and share your interests. The College has more tips for how to use social media and technology safely.

Get support

You may need more emotional support during this time. Many people are worrying about their friends and families, particularly when they can’t be near them. Keep in touch with people you are close to and let them know if you are worried or feeling down.

GP practices and mental health services, including Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), are still working, although they are doing a lot of their work via telephone or remote consultation. If you need to speak to someone, try and contact your usual health professional if you have one. GP and mental health services are still open, but some things will take a bit longer than usual.

If you need more urgent help:

  • Call your GP for an emergency appointment (this may be done over the phone or by video)
  • Call NHS111 for advice
  • Call your local crisis line
  • Call 999 or go to your nearest A&E (accident and emergency department) if you need medical help

See the resources in the ‘online support’ section lower down for more options.

If you are worried that someone you know might be hurting themselves, see the College’s information on self-harm for more information.

It may be difficult to adjust to not being able to get out and about as much as you’d like while you are self-isolating at home. But you may still be able to take part in online or digital versions of some of the activities you would normally do. Search online, or ask friends, classmates or teammates for some ideas. You may also find local organisations or groups that offer online activities for young people that you can join.

If you are self-isolating and need urgent access to food, your mental health team may be able to help arrange this. If this is not possible, there is now help available from local councils, as well as COVID Mutual Aid Groups which can help with running errands, befriending schemes or providing advice in leaflets to let people know more about these groups and what they can offer. 

Disclaimer

This resource provides information, not advice.  

The content in this resource is provided for general information only. It is not intended to, and does not, amount to advice which you should rely on. It is not in any way an alternative to specific advice.  You must therefore obtain the relevant professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action based on the information in this resource.

If you have questions about any medical matter, you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider without delay.  

If you think you are experiencing any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from a doctor or other professional healthcare provider.  

Although we make reasonable efforts to compile accurate information in our resources and to update the information in our resources, we make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in this resource is accurate, complete or up to date.