| 8.3°C Belfast

Coronavirus: Mental health charity advises Northern Ireland parents suffering anxiety over isolation


Strategy: Michelle Bradley

Strategy: Michelle Bradley

Strategy: Michelle Bradley

A mental health charity has produced a guide for parents who may be struggling with anxiety as a result of coronavirus.

We Are Pangs has put together a video to help ease the concerns of mums and dads as an increasing number of families across Northern Ireland are forced to self-isolate.

Michelle Bradley, the founder of the perinatal mental health charity, said parents may find the isolation challenging, particularly if they are already suffering from mental ill-health.

She also said social isolation measures may make it difficult for people to attend counselling sessions, which could exacerbate issues. And concerns about the impact of the virus are also proving a problem for people with health anxiety, but Ms Bradley stressed that preparation is the key to managing this.

"I know if you are anything like me and you struggle with anxiety the whole coronavirus thing is probably very triggering, particularly if you suffer with health anxiety," she said.

"If they're going to have this thing called social distancing, where basically we reduce our social activity to protect the more vulnerable people in society, that isolation may lead to a dip in your mental health.

"So what I want to talk about is how you can protect your mental health during this whole scare and also how to manage being at home with children.

"One of the most important things to know is for the majority of people Covid-19 causes very mild symptoms, very much like your common cold. It's also very important to know that young children seem to be less affected.

"If we get to a point where self-isolation does come into play, you need to be prepared to look after your mental health as well as your physical health.

"If you do need to stock up on things from the shop, make sure you are including feel-good stuff, like a bar of chocolate or nice coffee, something that's going to make you feel better when you're sitting at home by yourself.

"It's also really important to keep working on whatever mental health strategy you have in place, whether that's doing mindfulness, meditation, an exercise regime, eating well."

She also recommended to anyone in counselling to check to see whether sessions can be provided remotely.

Anyone who is a carer and who suffers from anxiety should also ensure they have contingency plans in the event they become unwell and cannot look after their loved one. This will help to reduce anxiety levels, she said.

"You can't control everything, it's very easy to get lost in the tumoil of it all, but you can only control what's around you, so focus on what you can control," she added.

More information and support is available by logging on to www.wearepangs.com

Please log in or register with belfasttelegraph.co.uk for free access to this article.

Already have an account?

Belfast Telegraph