A national mental health campaign to help people cope during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has now launched.

The Scottish Government’s ‘Clear Your Head’ campaign highlights the practical things people can do to help them feel better whilst continuing to stay at home, acknowledging these are worrying and uncertain times for many.

Simple steps to taking better care of our mental health and wellbeing over the coming weeks include:

· Keeping to a routine – trying to sleep and wake at the same time, and eating at regular times.

· Moving more – staying active, within the current guidance, to boost your mood.

· Taking a break – limiting exposure to the news on social media if you feel things are getting on top of you, instead using fun games, quizzes and apps online to pass the time.

· Making time for yourself – simply taking a breather or doing something you enjoy.

· Keeping in touch – phoning family and friends to ease worry and feel connected.

Along with a range of tips on how to stay positive, the campaign website www.clearyourhead.scot will signpost sources of help and advice including NHS Inform, and helplines including NHS24, Breathing Space, SAMH and the Samaritans.

The campaign, which will run across television, radio, and online, is part of a package of measures announced by the Scottish Government to help people look after their mental health during and after the coronavirus outbreak.

This includes £3.8 million of extra funding to begin to increase the capacity of NHS24’s telephone and online services, and investment of more than £1 million towards the expansion of the Distress Brief Intervention (DBI) programme.

Minister for Mental Health Clare Haughey said:

“The restrictions on our lives, whilst vital, are undoubtedly tough, bringing feelings of anxiety, frustration and worry as we try to cope and adapt. It’s never been more important to look after our mental health, and this campaign has been launched to highlight the things we can do every day to feel better and stay mentally healthy.

“These are unprecedented times and it’s important that people know what support is there if they need to speak to someone. We appreciate everyone’s efforts to prevent the spread of the virus, and hope this campaign helps people to take care of themselves as restrictions continue.”

Consultant Psychiatrist Dr John Mitchell said:

“There’s never been a better time to think and talk about how you’re feeling. We’re all experiencing the loss of things we may have taken for granted, such as loss of social interaction, loss of livelihoods, and for some the loss of health or bereavement.

“Creating new mental health habits, simple things that help structure our days, give us a boost or make us feel connected, is important in these times. These practical tips will help people do the right things to look after themselves in the coming weeks and months, making them better able to cope and meet the challenges they are facing.”

For information and advice visit www.clearyourhead.scot