Coronavirus: Advice for those experiencing mental health issues

Coronavirus infection and infection control measures may result in additional stress for everyone and perhaps especially for those experiencing mental health issues or substance abuse difficulties.

Concerns and stress associated with the situation could exacerbate the mental health issues you are experiencing or result in new symptoms appearing. Additionally, the measures implemented in society could make it harder to use the coping strategies that you otherwise find helpful. This is especially true if you are in quarantine or isolation due to coronavirus infection.

The following advice may be useful:

  • It is important to try to stick to your regular treatment plan. Please contact your therapist or other support workers as needed or if you have any questions. This is especially important if you find that your mental health is deteriorating significantly. Avoid allowing the focus on infection control to come at the cost of taking care of your health.
  • Separate advice has been prepared on managing stress for people in quarantine and isolation. This advice may also be useful for people suffering from mental health issues.
  • Remember to use the coping strategies that you have found useful before. If these cannot be used due to the current infection control measures, try to find alternatives. Contact your therapist or support network if you need help and advice in connection with the above.
  • It is important to maintain a normal daily routine and structure, especially if you are in quarantine/isolation or prevented from participating in ordinary activities due to infection control measures.
  • Maintain social contact with friends, family and others who support you, by phone or social media if you are unable to meet in person.
  • Recognise that your mental health issues and history may affect the way you think, feel and react to the coronavirus situation.
  • It is not uncommon to feel anxious, stressed or concerned.
  • Remember that even though the measures that are now being implemented are extensive, the purpose is to prevent more people from being infected and to protect those who are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus.