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.
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.
- Childline: Call 0800 1111 (free)
- Samaritans: Tel: 116 123 (free)
- The Mix: 0808 808 4994 – If you want to find out more or talk about challenges you are facing, from mental health to money to finding a job, from break-ups to drugs.
- Kooth: Free, safe, anonymous online support for young people
- Young Minds
- MIND: Useful contacts for young people
- The Children's Society
- Supportline: List of helplines and websites for young people
- Youth Access: Links to helplines and websites for young people
- Anna Freud: Supporting wellbeing during Coronavirus outbreak
- MIND: Coronavirus and your wellbeing (for young people)
- MindEd for families: Information on young people’s mental health
- National Youth Agency: Coronavirus support for young people (factsheet)
- NSPCC: Advice and support for parents and carers
- Royal College of Psychiatrists: Information about mental health for young people
- UK Youth: Support for young people
- Youth Employment UK: Supporting young people through COVID-19
- Young Minds: Supporting your child during the Coronavirus pandemic
- Government advice for parents and carers:
- Supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing
- Supporting vulnerable children and young people
- Local Government Association: Information on children’s services, education and schooling during COVID-19