Have you taken a moment recently to stop and check in on how you’re feeling? In the distraction of daily life, it can be easy to miss some of the signs our minds and bodies give us to slow down and take care of ourselves, or when things aren’t quite right.

COVID-19 has created range of reasons you may be feeling particularly low or worried at the moment. Worries about the virus, family members, work and money, as well as the impact of isolation, change and uncertainty have affected many of us lately. They might be having an impact for you too.

Sometimes at mild levels the symptoms of anxiety and depression can be hard to spot, do any of these sound familiar?

  • You find it hard to stop worrying
  • You feel nervous, on edge or more irritable
  • You’ve been feeling down or hopeless
  • You’ve lost interest or pleasure in doing things

You might notice some physical symptoms too. These can be things like not enough or very light sleep, feeling hot, sweating, or feeling on edge.

If these sound like you, it might be time to seek some help. Tackling issues at an earlier stage means quicker access to treatment and can help stop things from getting worse.

If you think you’re struggling but aren’t sure, there’s an easy way to check. Take this quick, anonymous NHS mood quiz today.

Struggling from time to time is common and perfectly normal. One in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year, so you’re not alone. There’s lots of help and support out there.

Getting help and advice

There are steps we can all take every day to look after our mental wellbeing, just like we take care of our physical health. To help you take better care of your mind and look after your wellbeing, Every Mind Matters will get you started with a free NHS-approved Mind Plan: everymindmatters.co.uk. The site is also full of helpful articles, tips, and advice on a range of topics related to mental wellbeing.

If you’ve noticed difficult thoughts, feelings or other symptoms that aren’t passing – you don’t have to manage alone, Health in Mind is here to help you. Health in Mind is a free NHS service for anyone over 18 in East Sussex experiencing symptoms of stress, anxiety, or low mood. You can refer yourself at healthinmind.org.uk.

You should contact your GP for ongoing concerns about your mental health which aren’t improving with self-help interventions, whether these are new experiences or related to a pre-existing issue or diagnosis.

If you need urgent or crisis support with your mental health, call the Sussex Mental Healthline on 0800 0309 500, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or visit: Urgent help in a crisis.

If you’re thinking about suicide, or worried about someone you know, visit Preventing Suicide in Sussex for help. As well as telling you where to get help and how to help someone else, the site has tips for coping right now and practical tips that have helped other people who have had suicidal thoughts.

We’ve put together a more detailed guide to some of the options available which you can check out here: Get help with your mental health. You can also visit the Mental Health Directory for more local services, and other support and advice.

Worries about work and money

The impacts of the pandemic mean lots of people are particularly worried about things like work, money and housing at the moment. Every Mind Matters has advice on coping with money worries and job uncertainty during COVID-19, to help you feel more in control.

For practical support, you can find out what help you can get if you’re affected by coronavirus on GOV.UK. You may also find helpful information on our housing, benefits and coronavirus help and support web pages.

There are many organisations and support groups, including community and voluntary organisations, who can guide you across a range of issues from money management, housing, and legal advice to volunteering, support and much more. Visit 1Space to find services and how to get in touch: Information and Advice – East Sussex 1Space.

What about if I’m worried about someone else?

If you’re worried about someone else, there are things you can do.

Firstly, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone. We all appreciate it when those important to us get in touch to check on how we are and tell us they’re thinking about us. This could be a great way to open a conversation with someone you’re worried about. Can you arrange a good time to catch up or do an activity together, Covid-19 restrictions permitting?

If someone does talk to you about things that are hard for them, resist the urge to offer them advice or try to fix things. Instead, try gently asking open questions and listening without judgement. Let them know you’re there for them.

You can tell them about mental health support that they might find helpful but remember that you can’t force someone to talk to you or to get help. If they aren’t ready or don’t want to talk, you can still let them know that you’re there to listen. Perhaps you can offer practical help with daily tasks, or other acts of kindness.

Every Mind Matters has lots of helpful tips and advice on helping someone else with their mental health: Helping Others With Mental Health Problems.

If you look after someone with a mental health condition in an unpaid capacity, there’s support available for you too. Find out where to get help in our Mental Health Directory.

Lift someone out of loneliness

Feeling lonely is something that all of us can experience at any point and it can have a huge impact on our wellbeing. It’s important to remember that these feelings can pass and that there are lots of ways we can help each other too.

Fancy a cuppa? Fancy a walk? Sometimes reaching out to each other with as little as three words can make a big difference.

The Better Health: Every Mind Matters campaign is encouraging people to ‘Lift Someone Out of Loneliness’ by taking a simple action to help someone who may be feeling lonely. If we do this regularly, we can all help to lift each other up.

Find out how you can help to lift someone out of loneliness.