Within the space of a few weeks, our lives have changed dramatically. With Coronavirus dominating the news and social media, it is understandable that people will be concerned about this issue. We know it can be hard to know what to say to someone else - especially if we're also feeling a little anxious ourselves.
We've pulled together a few ideas to help you start the conversation.
Most of all, it's important to be kind, understanding and take time to listen.
It's a challenging time and different people cope in different ways so be there for them, however they're feeling.
Our top tips
Remind them that it’s okay to feel what they’re feeling. This is a scary time, they’re allowed to go through whatever emotions that come about.
Different people may be impacted differently. Some will be anxious about health, others will be lonely in isolation, others will find it difficult to cope with sudden change. Take time to find out what is troubling someone as this will help you to support them better.
Talk through ideas to lessen anxiety, such as reducing the time spent reading the news or on social media.
Focus on things in their control such as self care and taking steps to sensibly reduce risk.
People may feel anxious about the unknown aspect of the virus and how it may affect them or those around them. Focusing on the present, their choices and identifying coping skills can help them to feel more in control.
Explore distractions and ways to put things back into perspective. Support people in finding positive things to do, rather than focusing on the negative.
Coping skills can look different to different people. Brainstorming small ways they can get relief may help.
The odd beer or glass of wine is a nice way to relax, but remember that alcohol can affect your mood, so consider when it might become an unhelpful way to cope.
Remember that while ideally you’ll be able to support someone, they will not always feel better after a conversation. What matters is that you were there for them. Someone listening really does help so don't give up. Let them know that they can come back to you.
Pay attention to how these conversations are impacting you and your own well-being and think about your own coping strategies.
Sources of help
There's some fantastic resources to help people, so you might consider pointing others in the direction of some online support. Here's some of our favourites:
Every Mind Matters – NHS wellbeing support www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/
NHS mental health and wellbeing app library www.nhs.uk/apps-library/category/mental-health/