Taking care of your mental health as a key worker Now more than ever you may be feeling pressure if you’re a key worker. If you’re having to leave your house during the coronavirus outbreak, it can feel challenging and overwhelming. If you need to go into work during these unprecedented times, it’s because the important work you do, which helps and supports other people, must continue. But if you work in healthcare or emergency services, such as in a hospital, care home or in the police, you may be experiencing common feelings such as stress, anxiety, guilt and anger. You might feel stressed about going into work, particularly if you have to come in contact with someone who may have coronavirus. There is no question of the hardship that is felt being on the frontline and the worry for your health and that of those around you. It can be easy to neglect your own mental health and wellbeing when coping with so many mixed emotions in such uncertain times. Mind has useful advice on how to deal with those difficult feelings and tips to help you take care of your mental health and wellbeing. These include: Stay connected It’s crucial that you stay connected to family and friends. You may not be able to see them face-to-face but there are plenty of ways to maintain that relationship. You can do so by phone, text, email or even video call with the people you would normally catch up with in person, helping simulate as real of a ‘meet up’ as possible. Try to keep active With limits on going out and about, try to build physical activity into your daily routine, such as dancing to music, going up and down the stairs and online exercise workouts. Joe Wicks’ PE workout has proven extremely popular, featuring simple exercises that are great fun for parents and their kids. Get your news from trusted sources It’s important to stay connected with current events but be careful where you get your news from. Rumour and speculation can fuel anxiety. With plenty of false information floating around it’s best to stick to good quality information, such as from Gov.uk and the NHS. Limit exposure to social media There is an overload of news stories making the rounds and the sheer volume of these can heighten your anxiety, so limit the time you spend scrolling through these stories to avoid being sucked into a vacuum of scary and sometimes fake news. We are currently working in collaboration with Mind to produce a programme to support our staff, initially focused on anxiety. We also have eight mental health first aiders across our services and our staff can access a confidential support line and online resources via www.colleaguesupport.co.uk.