COVID-19 Information & Support

During the COVID-19 crisis we are all facing a situation that is new, unusual, demanding and stressful for many. Therefore the mental health continuum for many has shifted and a level of frequent anxiety is the new norm. We may be experiencing:

  • Grief and Loss around a way of life where we have lost our familiarities, rituals and feelings;

  • Fear and anxiety over contracting the virus, and for our loved ones who may be in isolation or who are key workers on the front line;

  • Isolation and identity as there is less clarity around our usual routines that give us a purpose and our social contact with friends, family and colleagues is diminished.

As a consequence we need to help ourselves and help each other to ensure we continue to support our mental wellbeing.

The Government has published information to support the public and their mental health during the COVID-19 crisis

What can help your mental health and wellbeing?


Consider how to connect with others

Maintaining relationships with people you trust is important for your mental wellbeing. Think about how you can stay in touch with friends and family via telephone, video calls or social media instead of meeting in person – whether it’s people you normally see often or connecting with old friends.


Help and support others

Think about how you could help those around you – it could make a big difference to them and can make you feel better too. Could you message a friend or family member nearby? Are there community groups that you could join to support others locally? Remember it’s important to do this in line with guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19) to keep yourself and everyone safe. And try to be accepting of other people’s concerns, worries or behaviours.


Talk about your worries

It is quite common to feel worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. Remember that this is a difficult time for everyone and sharing how you are feeling and the things you are doing to cope with family and friends can help them too. If you don’t feel able to do that, there are people you can speak to via NHS recommended helplines or you could find support groups online to connect with.


Look after your physical wellbeing

Your physical health has a big impact on how you are feeling emotionally and mentally. At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour which in turn can make you feel worse. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water, exercise inside where possible and outside once a day, and try to avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs.

If you are able to go outside, consider walking or gardening (keeping the recommended 2 metres from others as outlined in the social distancing guidance). If you are staying at home, you can find free easy 10 minute work outs from Public Health England or other exercise videos to try at home on the NHS Fitness Studio. Joe Wicks, the Body Coach has a YouTube channel with regular workouts. Sport England also has good tips for keeping active at home.


Look after your sleep

Feeling anxious or worried can make it harder to get a good night’s sleep. Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how you feel mentally and physically, so it’s important to get enough.

Try to maintain regular sleeping patterns and keep good sleep hygiene practices – like avoiding screens before bed, cutting back on caffeine and creating a restful environment. The Every Mind Matters sleep page provides practical advice on how to improve your sleep.

Covid-19 is having a huge impact on children's sleep, according to a survey by The Sleep Charity, The Sleep Council and Sleepstation.

They found that as many as 70% of children under 16 are going to bed later and 57% are also waking later - showing a significant change in bedtimes. Experts think this will have a long-term negative impact when schools re-open.

It was also discovered that nearly three quarters (74%) of children are using electronic devices (TVs, tablets, game consoles and phones) a lot more during the coronavirus lockdown.

And the survey revealed that a third of children are sleeping longer than normal, indicating that it will be harder to go back to previous sleep routines once they return to school. Nearly two in 10 are sleeping less which could impact on physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing.

How is lockdown impacting your sleep?

Have you been having more vivid dreams than normal? Well, it could be because of the impact lockdown is having on our lives.

You are spending more time at home, less time at school and your days are really different.

This change of routine affects everything, and people are having lots of different emotions - good and bad. That's a lot of new information for brains to deal with, and so it can affect dreams. It's normal, considering the circumstances.

All of these factors mean we're more likely to have more REM sleep, which is very sensitive and light. If you interrupt REM sleep you are more likely to remember your dreams, so they seem more vivid compared to normal.

Vicki Dawson, CEO of The Sleep Charity, said: "These are extraordinary times and we fully understand why bedtimes and wake up times have slipped. But we are worried about how children will transition back to a normal routine once schools do reopen, especially if that is as late as September."

She went on to say that "Covid-19 could lead to increased sleep problems in children and young people. Ultimately that has a knock-on effect and may influence their daytime behaviour - including hyperactivity, tearfulness and irritability - and family life."


Tips for a better night's sleep

Sleep expert Stephanie Romiszewski from Sleepyhead Clinic tells us how lockdown is affecting your sleep

  • Put all electronic devices away an hour before you go to sleep so that melatonin levels (the sleepy hormone) can increase. Once you have got ready for bed, you can do some things that you enjoy which make you feel calm and happy. If you are worried or not feeling ok, make sure you talk to someone about how you are feeling like your family or friends. It's important not to push the bad feelings down before sleep - in order to have all the fun dreams and lovely sleep we need to process the not so good feelings first. Once you feel really sleepy, now is the time to drift off to sleep!

  • If you wake in the night. Don't worry, it's normal. If you can't get back to sleep it's ok to distract yourself with a book or something that you like but keeps you calm. When you feel sleepy again, you can go back to bed;

  • In the morning, it's best to have the same wake time every day with an alarm, and try not to snooze! If you lie in or snooze, it doesn't make you feel great and it can even affect how well you sleep the next night;

  • Try to get lots of bright light and exercise in the morning - being nice and alert and moving in the day also helps us sleep well at night!

  • Try to stick to your usual routines of sleeping and napping. If you find yourself going to bed at different times and letting yourself nap at strange times or even napping when you didn't before, these things could all start to make your night time sleep less restful.


Try to manage difficult feelings

Many people find the news about coronavirus (COVID-19) concerning. However, some people may experience such intense anxiety that it becomes a problem. Try to focus on the things you can control, including where you get information from and actions to make yourself feel better prepared.

It is okay to acknowledge some things that are outside of your control right now but constant repetitive thoughts about the situation which lead you to feel anxious or overwhelmed are not helpful. The Every Mind Matters page on anxiety and NHS mental wellbeing audio guides provide further information on how to manage anxiety.


Manage your media and information intake

24-hour news and constant social media updates can make you more worried. If it is affecting you, try to limit the time you spend watching, reading, or listening to media coverage of the outbreak. It may help to only check the news at set times or limiting to a couple of checks a day.


Get the facts

Gather high-quality information that will help you to accurately determine your own or other people’s risk of contracting coronavirus (COVID-19) so that you can take reasonable precautions. Find a credible source you can trust such as GOV.UK, or the NHS website, and fact check information that you get from newsfeeds, social media or from other people.

Think about how possibly inaccurate information could affect others too. Try not to share information without fact-checking against credible sources.

Think about your new daily routine: Life is changing for us all for a while. Whether you are staying at home or social distancing, you are likely to see some disruption to your normal routine.

Think about how you can adapt and create positive new routines – try to engage in useful activities (such as cleaning, cooking or exercise) or meaningful activities (such as reading or calling a friend). You might find it helpful to write a plan for your day or your week.


Do things you enjoy 

When you are anxious, lonely or low you may do things that you usually enjoy less often, or not at all. Focussing on your favourite hobby, learning something new or simply taking time to relax indoors should give you some relief from anxious thoughts and feelings and can boost your mood.

If you can’t do the things you normally enjoy because you are staying at home, try to think about how you could adapt them, or try something new. There are lots of free tutorials and courses online and people are coming up with innovative online solutions like online pub quizzes and streamed live music concerts.


Set goals

Setting goals and achieving them gives a sense of control and purpose – think about things you want or need to do that you can still do at home. It could be watching a film, reading a book or learning something online.


Keep your mind active

Read, write, play games, do crossword puzzles, sudokus, jigsaws or drawing and painting. Find something that works for you.

Take time to relax and focus on the present: This can help with difficult emotions, worries about the future, and can improve wellbeing. Relaxation techniques can also help some people to deal with feelings of anxiety. For useful resources see Every Mind Matters and NHS’ mindfulness page.

If you can, once a day get outside, or bring nature in: Spending time in green spaces can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. If you can’t get outside much you can try to still get these positive effects by spending time with the windows open to let in fresh air, arranging space to sit and see a nice view (if possible) and get some natural sunlight, or get out into the garden if you can.

For wider information about COVID-19 and mental wellbeing information and support please try here: 

Guidance for the public on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Responding to the coronavirus: resources for mental health and wellbeing

Gloucestershire County Council: look after your wellbeing


Young Minds Matter Gloucestershire, TIC+ and Gloucestershire Health Living and Learning have collaborated to produce a variety of information and advice packs for students, parent and teachers.

You can download these packs here


The school counsellor has produce a poster about the steps to achieve mental wellbeing. You can download the poster here

Gloucestershire Health Living and Learning has a variety of resources and links to support teachers, parents and students.

Supporting a child returning to school after Lockdown or self-isolation

School attendance will be mandatory for all students from 8 March 2021. This means from that point, the usual rules on school attendance apply.

From the week beginning 8 March students must return to school. There maybe a scenario before the end of this academic year where a student will be unable to attend school in line with public health advice because they are self-isolating and having symptoms or a positive test result themselves; or because they are a close contact of someone who has coronavirus (COVID-19). At the end of a period of enforced absence the student must then return to school.  

The school recognises that some students will need support in helping them to return to school and parent/ carer support will help them.

Talk to your child about how they are feeling about going back to school and try not to make assumptions. Ask them if they are worried or feel scared about anything, but also if they are excited about or looking forward to something. No matter how your child feels, let them know that it is completely normal to feel a mixture of emotions and that everyone will be in the same boat.

Refer to the “Covid-19 and March Return” on the school website to provide your child with as much information about their routines and school day as you can. This will help them to prepare for any changes that have been made to any changes during their self-isolation.

Reassure your child. During the lockdown and self-isolation, we have been told to stay at home, remain socially distant from others and wash our hands regularly. Talk with your child about ways they should stay safe at school, such as washing their hands or using hand sanitizer regularly, wearing a face mask in corridors, social areas and classrooms, and reassure them that the school are putting measures in place to keep them safe.

Re-establish a routine to help ease into school life. During lockdown and self-isolation students have been asked to maintain their school daily routines working remotely and attending registration, assemblies and live lessons. To help them get ready for school, try to maintain their usual morning and bedtime routines as they get closer to their return date.

Don’t put pressure on yourself. For some students and yourselves, the transition back into school is likely to take some time. Lots of children will experience ups and downs. Try your best to support, reassure and comfort them.

Think ahead. As well as reflecting on what has happened during the past weeks, it is important to help children develop hope and a sense of excitement for the future. At a time like this, it can be hard to feel positive, but identifying the things that they can look forward to will help them to realise that the current situation won’t last forever and their feelings will change. This is now easier to comprehend with the impending national roll out of a vaccination over the next 6 months.

Seek support if you need it. Transitioning back to school after being in lockdown or self-isolation is no easy task. You may find that your child struggles to get back into school or experiences difficulties while they’re at school. If this is the case, contact your child’s Learning Mentor as soon as you can so that you can make them aware of the challenges and work together to support your child. The school will be open with students about it is OK if you are struggling and OK to ask for help. If you are concerned about your child’s mental health and you think they need professional support, speak to the school and your GP about the best next step.