What to do if you're anxious and concerned with Coronavirus?
Updated: Feb 24
Talk to someone about how you’re feeling
While it is normal to feel worried, if you are starting to feel overwhelmed, it’s important to acknowledge your feelings and speak to someone you trust, whether that’s a friend, a family member, a teacher or a helpline.
Arm yourself with the facts
There is a lot of information about the virus out there and false reports can fuel anxiety. Stay on top of what’s happening by using the government website; it is the most up-to-date and reliable source of information. The NHS coronavirus page can also be useful if you are worried about symptoms or family members.
You might see stories or posts on social media that makes you feel anxious. It can be very hard to know whether or not social media posts are true, so try not to rely on updates from there.
Know what you can do
If you are feeling scared or panicked by coronavirus, remind yourself that there are practical things you can do.
There is lots of advice about this on the NHS website.
You might feel anxious about this advice because it might trigger compulsive thoughts and unhelpful behaviours to do with washing and hygiene. If this happens to you, please talk to someone you trust about it. You could ask them to help you, and let people around you know what you find helpful and what you don't.
It can also help to have a few gentle and regular reminders up your sleeve if you start to feel anxious about washing or hygiene. Remember this advice is about caring for yourself and others, but there is a limit to what you can do – so whatever happens, try to be kind to yourself.
Find things that help you feel calm
Like at any other time, it’s important that you are not only looking after your physical health, but your mental health too. Think about some activities that can help when you are feeling overwhelmed, like breathing techniques, writing down how you feel, playing music or talking to a friend. For some ideas, have a look at how you can make a self-soothe box, or these coping techniques.
Often things that distract you will help ease feelings of anxiety, but try to avoid turning to stimulants like cigarettes or alcohol which can leave you feeling worse.
Dealing with self-isolation
The Government is now advising everybody to ‘self-isolate’ where possible. Self-isolation means staying away from other people to prevent the potential spread of illness. The Government have guidelines on their website on how to do this. Wherever you are when self-isolating, think about who you can keep in contact with and how you can use apps such as WhatsApp and Zoom to talk to someone face to face. It’s important that you talk to people you trust during this time and continue to stay connected. They might be in the same situation and can help you navigate anything you are going through.
If you are on any medication, please do continue taking it, unless advised otherwise by your doctor. If you are worried about getting your prescription, call the pharmacy where you collect your medication, or your GP. They can arrange getting your prescription delivered or picked up by someone else.
Maintain your routine as much as possible by getting up in the morning and going to bed at the same time. Eating regular meals and staying hydrated will help also, as well as taking breaks throughout the day to talk to someone or do something that you enjoy. If it’s possible, try activities in your home that get you moving, like yoga or dancing.
It’s important during this time that you keep checking in with and acknowledging how you are feeling. We know that things might continue to feel overwhelming or scary. It’s good for you to talk about this where possible – know that you can say "I feel anxious about…" whenever you need to, and as regularly as you need to.
You may find that you need extra support, so think about who you can turn to. It could be someone you know, or a helpline that you can talk to about how you might be feeling.
Where to get help
Provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK if you are experiencing a mental health crisis
If you need urgent help text YM to 85258
All texts are answered by trained volunteers, with support from experienced clinical supervisors
Texts are free from EE, O2, Vodafone, 3, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile and Telecom Plus.
Comforts, advises and protects children 24 hours a day and offers free confidential counselling.
Phone 0800 1111 (24 hours)
Chat 1-2-1 with a counsellor online
Information, support and listening for people under 25.
Phone 0808 808 4994 (24 hours)
Get support online
24 hour confidential listening and support for anyone who needs it. (Adults included.)
Phone 116 123 (24 hours)