People in County Durham who are having to stay at home during the Coronavirus pandemic are being offered advice on how to maintain their mental wellbeing.
Durham County Council is strongly advising all residents to follow guidance from the government on staying at home and to only go outside for food, health reasons – such as to exercise once a day – or work where this absolutely cannot be done from home.
On the occasions they do go outside people are reminded they should be staying two metres (six feet) from other people and washing their hands as soon as they get home, for 20 seconds.
However the council is very conscious of the strain staying at home places on people and is encouraging residents to follow government advice to help them manage their mental wellbeing.
- Seek information: and practical guidance from reliable news sources. Avoid listening to or following rumours that make you uncomfortable.
- Stay connected: maintain your social networks, i.e. via email, reliable social media, texts and telephone.
- Engage in healthy activities: keep regular sleep routines, exercise at home and eat healthy food. Keep things in perspective – public health agencies and experts in all countries are working on the outbreak to ensure the availability of the best care to those affected.
On top of this, the council is also offering the following advice to residents:
- Be careful what you read and seek news from reputable sources – limit your time watching/reading things that aren’t helping your anxiety/worries/frame of mind.
- Keep in touch with friends, colleagues and family – using your phone, tablet, computer if you are self-isolating
- Look after yourself – eat well and exercise
- Focus on what you can control
Amanda Healy, the council’s director of public health, said: “We fully appreciate that these are really difficult times for everybody and that being asked to stay at home is a massive ask. However it is vitally important that everyone follows the government guidance and plays their part in slowing the spread of Coronavirus – in the interests of the health of all of us and protecting the NHS
“It is inevitable that when staying indoors people will feel bored, frustrated or lonely. They may also be low, worried or anxious, or concerned about their finances, health or those close to them.
“We would encourage everyone to follow the guidance from the government and ourselves on ways to maintain their mental wellbeing, and to seek support if they need it.”
Further information on ways to manage mental wellbeing is available on the council’s website at http://www.durham.gov.uk/article/22992/Look-after-yourself
The council has released further details of how it services are changing amid the pandemic.
- The Employability Durham team has stopped face-to-face meetings with residents but is continuing to offer support via phone, text, e-mail and social media. As of today it is offering new support in maths and English, job applications, coaching for confidence and short sessions dealing with stress, anxiety and isolation. People are advised to email in the first instance at: [email protected]
- The Housing Solutions team has stopped face-to-face meetings with residents but is continuing to offer support via phone and email. It is however continuing to send out officers to establish who is rough sleeping, and visiting known rough sleepers to check their welfare, support them into accommodation and advise what they should do if they are displaying Coronavirus symptoms.
- The Gypsy Roma and Traveller service has stopped all non-essential face-to-face contact and moved to only digital and telephone communication where possible. The service will continue to charge rent but will not be evicting anyone in arrears during the pandemic.
- The council is also reminding people that it has suspended parking charges in all its car parks, both on and off street, to help key workers.
Residents are advised to continue to follow all government guidance to protect themselves and others, including to wash their hands more often, for 20 seconds each time. Further information is available at: http://www.durham.gov.uk/publichealthupdate