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NOT ALONE: Can you help keep people mentally well during the coronavirus crisis?

PUBLISHED: 06:00 01 April 2020 | UPDATED: 10:07 01 April 2020

Video calling has become a helpful tool as people stay at home in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Video calling has become a helpful tool as people stay at home in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

PA Wire/PA Images

You’re not alone, we’re in this together, look out for each other and this will not last forever.

These are some of the key messages in a new drive by this newspaper to try and ensure people do not become mentally ill during these times of social isolation.

Our Not Alone project aims to show solidarity with those who may be feeling the strain at this particularly tough time.

Stay home to save lives may be the message when it comes to combating the coronavirus pandemic, but that has meant many of us are battling with new mental health challenges in recent weeks.

From those who are potentially vulnerable to Covid-19 self-isolating, to parents who are home schooling, key workers pressing on with vital roles, people furloughed from their job and those working from home – all of us are facing new challenges at the moment.

So today this newspaper is sending the message that you are ‘Not Alone’ as we encourage readers to show their support, particularly for those who battle with anxiety or depression issues.

Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News editor David Powles, left, and Sir Norman Lamb are among those calling for us all to take extra care of our mental health during the coronavirus pandemic Picture: Victoria PertusaEastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News editor David Powles, left, and Sir Norman Lamb are among those calling for us all to take extra care of our mental health during the coronavirus pandemic Picture: Victoria Pertusa

We are urging people join in with our campaign online by posting a short video on social media using #NotAlone to offer your tips on the best way to keep a clear mind and a positive outlook. Alternatively you can email that video to david.freezer@archant.co.uk

David Powles, editor of the EDP and Norwich Evening News, said: “There has rightly been a lot of focus on physical health over the last few weeks but I’m concerned that as the isolation period extends we need to really look after our mental health as well.

“Through this campaign we just want to remind people to try and stay as positive as possible, remember that this will not last forever and to look out for yourself and each other.

“If every person picked a minimum of five of their friends and family to stay in close contact with and keep an eye on their well-being I think it could make a real difference.”

Public Health England (PHE) has released mental health and wellbeing help in recent days, providing guidance for anyone feeling vulnerable during the social restrictions put in place to combat the spread of Covid-19, with backing from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The guidance, available in full at gov.uk/phe, includes advice such as maintaining contact with others, offering support to other people, talking about your worries, the importance of sleep and maintaining physical activity where possible.

- You can watch all of our video contributions above and contribute your own by tagging @EDP24 or @eveningnews on Twitter and using the #NotAlone hashtag.

WHAT CAN HELP YOUR MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING...

- Consider how to connect with others

- Help and support others

- Talk about your worries

- Look after your physical wellbeing

- Look after your sleep

- Try to manage difficult feelings

- Manage your media and information intake

- Get the facts

- Think about your new daily routine

- Do things you enjoy

- Set goals

- Keep your mind active

- Take time to relax and focus on the present

- If you can, once a day get outside, or bring nature in

For full guidance, go to gov.uk/phe

- Our Here to Help campaign is also organising a Not Alone pen friend scheme for those keen to make new friends during isolation. Those interested in being involved can contact Donna-Louise.Bishop@archant.co.uk

- Click here to subscribe to our daily coronavirus newsletter, with all the latest from where you live


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