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Support for people dealing with depression during COVID-19

Dr Liam Parsonage, Consultant Psychiatrist at Priory Hospital North London, offers advice and support for those struggling with feelings of depression during the COVID-19 outbreak. He explains why people may be experiencing lower than usual moods, and why people with depression may be feeling worse. He also provides tips on how to boost wellbeing and thought processes at this time.

The coronavirus outbreak has resulted in people experiencing a lot of uncertainty about the future, and this uncertainty can be very difficult to cope with. For people who are struggling with symptoms of depression, try to take things one day at a time, focusing on what you can do in the here and now to stay well.

Stick to a daily routine

Keeping a good structure to your days can be very helpful. It can be easy to lose this, especially if you have been furloughed or are not going into school or college. If you are finding that you are lying in bed for longer than usual or are spending your days doing very little, it is important to recognise the negative impact that this lack of structure can have on your mood and wellbeing in the long run.

So, plan and keep to a daily routine. Try to go to bed at the same time every day and get up at the same time in the morning. Have regular mealtimes and block out time for specific activities in the morning and afternoon. But remember, don’t overwhelm yourself by doing too much. Instead, keep things regular and plan simple daily goals for you to achieve.

Allow yourself some ‘me time’

During the coronavirus pandemic, we are being asked to stay at home as much as possible and this can be quite intense, as many of us will be around the same people 24/7.

Give one another a little bit of space and accept that things might be a little bit tenser at times. Remember, it’s quite unusual to be with the same set of people for such a prolonged period of time. Also, try your best to let things go rather than letting things escalate into arguments.

Limit your media use

There’s a lot on the news and on social media at the moment about COVID-19 and its effects.

While it’s good to stay up to date, try and limit the amount of time you spend watching the news and going on social media. It can become quite overwhelming and have a negative impact on how you’re thinking and feeling about what’s going on at the moment.

Stay connected

Keep in contact with family and friends in any way that is possible at the minute. If you don’t have many friends or family who you’re able to keep connected with, there are other ways of staying connected with your community or other people who share your interests.

You can connect online through different forums and online groups, where you’re able to chat to other people who’ve got similar interests. Doing so and staying connected socially is very important for our wellbeing as it helps us to recognise that we’re not going through this alone.

Getting access to support and treatment

At the minute, many clinicians and therapists are still working. Many therapists are now delivering their therapies online and through video calls and doctors are also working with patients through video and telephone calls. So if you feel like you do need additional support, please do reach out. There are people who are able to help you.

At Priory Group, we are still able to provide people with access to our residential services for depression if it is needed. Outpatient support is also available through our digital therapy service, Priory Connect, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please read our coronavirus information page for more information on about how we’ve adapted our treatment over the coronavirus outbreak.

Blog reviewed by Dr Liam Parsonage (BA, MBBS, MRCPsych, PGCert) Consultant Psychiatrist at Priory Hospital North London

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For details of how Priory can provide you with assistance regarding mental health and wellbeing, please call 0800 840 3219 or click here to submit an enquiry form. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here

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