Things you can do to look after your mental health and wellbeing

It is normal to be having an emotional reaction to the current situation, this is a hard-wired human response. It doesn’t mean you haven’t been coping well enough, it doesn’t mean you’ve not tried to do all the ‘right’ wellbeing things, it’s not your fault if things are feeling difficult. 

You will have your own ways of looking after your wellbeing. If you can, keep doing what works for you. There’s no ‘right’ way to look after your emotional wellbeing, we are all different.

On this page, you will find information and tips to support you to look after your mental health and wellbeing, including when difficult things have happened. These resources have been tailored for your needs as staff members at this time.

For more general information on wellbeing at this time (including financial support, the community response unit, staying safe, and carers support), you can also visit the Derbyshire County Council microsite.

Boosting your emotional wellbeing

Why not create your own well for winter personal plan?

We know that the winter months can feel difficult for many, the Well for Winter template may be something helpful for you to use. We’ve already had lots of good feedback on it.

Well for Winter information

Well for Winter personal plan

Wellbeing toolkit

NHS England and NHS Improvement in the Midlands have worked with health charity C3 to create a regional version of its health and wellbeing toolkit “Caring for Yourself While You Care For Others” for nurses. The toolkit is accessible here. Please share this resource and encourage your colleagues to use it to support themselves and others. 

Although this interactive toolkit was designed for nurses and midwives, it features links to a large range of free health and wellbeing resources including websites, apps, podcasts and physical support groups that may be helpful for many professionals at this time.

The Five Ways to Wellbeing

There’s lots of things we can do to help boost our wellbeing at this time. Evidence suggests there are five steps you can take to help improve your mental health and wellbeing. These steps are connect, be active, take notice, keep learning and give. The good news is that you can do these five steps, even if you are confined to your own home. Sometimes we can know the theory, but it’s harder to apply it to our own busy lives.

  • Why not make a weekly plan, for how you are going to do the five ways to wellbeing?
  • What will you do each day? When will you do it?
  • Can you pin your plan to your fridge or up in your bedroom as a reminder?
  • Can you set a challenge to do this with someone else, and encourage each other?

Coping Calendar.png

Action for Happiness have developed a coping calendar. Each day you’ll get a new suggestion for boosting your mood and wellbeing – such as making some progress on a project that matters to you, writing down 10 things about which you feel grateful each day, and sending a letter to someone you can’t be with. Why not give some of the ideas a go? You can sign up to get monthly happiness calendars.


Sometimes the harder we try to relax, the less relaxed we feel! To help you explore new ways to relax visit Wellbeing and Coping for plenty of ideas that cost nothing, and take as little as 30 seconds. Some of their 30-second ideas include:

  • Taking three deep breaths
  • Hugging yourself
  • Feel the floor – focus on noticing the floor beneath your feet
  • Relax your shoulders, release some of the tension you may be holding in them.


Lifestyle changes

You may be feeling that you would like to make some positive lifestyle changes during this period – losing weight, stopping smoking, or getting more physically active. For free support, information, and advice on lifestyle changes, get in touch with Live Life Better Derbyshire, via their website or by calling 0800 085 2299 or 01629 538 200. The Live Life Better Derbyshire website also has plenty of resources and ideas for you. For example, they have got advice on food swaps, reading food labels, what 100 calories looks like, and portion sizes.

You may be thinking about trying to cut down your drinking. For some top tips on alcohol and mental health during Covid-19 visit the Alcohol Change website.

Managing anxiety and worry

Managing symptoms of anxiety and worry (including health anxiety and OCD)

This section will provide you with a range of resources and tips to help you manage any anxiety that you might be feeling at this time. Many of the techniques you can start right now. 

We have put together advice and information on the following topics:

  • Anxiety/worry
  • Health anxiety
  • Obsessional compulsive disorder (OCD).

Anxiety and worry

Anxiety is a normal hard-wired human response to threat and danger; so, it’s no surprise that anxiety levels may be significantly heightened during this period. It can be scary to experience anxiety and panic. Anxiety can also make it very hard to function at times as it can significantly impact on things such as our concentration and memory.

I’ve got five minutes...

Grounding is a simple and easy technique, particularly useful for times of high stress. It’s about paying attention to the physical sensations of your body being physically connected to the ground. You can do it anywhere (whether you are at a desk or in an armchair) - and it’s easy to learn.

  • Have a go now (this is a version for when you are sitting on a chair)
  • Feel your feet firmly on the ground
  • Notice the weight of your body in the chair
  • Bring your attention to your back against the chair 
  • Explore the sensations of your elbows on the arms of the chair
  • As you do this, you will notice your attention wander, gently bring it back to the physical sensations of being connected to the ground
  • You can perhaps even imagine roots growing from your feet. Reaching into the ground, firmly anchoring you to the earth.

Evidence-based stress and anxiety management tips for frontline staff

The Oxford Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma has developed two documents to support frontline staff to manage stress and anxiety, underpinned by evidence-based psychological approaches. One document provides a summary of seven evidence-based tools for managing high stress and anxiety at this time. The other document provides a bit more detail about each suggestion, if you would like to know more. 

Brief mindfulness: when you come home, thoughts of the day that’s been – or of the days or weeks to come – may feel like they have your attention and that they are your reality. Mindfulness exercises, such as mindfulness of sounds or breath, can be helpful as you find ways to look after yourself.  

Mindfulness of sounds clip (2 mins)

YouTube: exercise: Mindfulness of Sound

Try having a go at this mindful breathing exercise (three minutes)

YouTube: Three-minute mindful breathing meditation (relieve stress)

Many people find great benefit from everyday mindfulness. This means focusing on and noticing your senses as you do everyday tasks; for example, noticing the sensations you experience while showering, or while walking, or mindful eating of a snack, or perhaps looking out of the window while you wait for food to cook.

YouTube: Video by Russ Harris, provides some useful suggestions for how to cope with the psychological impact of Covid-19 effectively, using a method called Face-Covid.

I can find 10-20 minutes...

Anxiety UK offer online chats, a helpline and a series of webinars focussed on anxiety during the current situation. 

For support on managing anxiety and panic attacks, visit Mind’s website. You can learn about the symptoms of anxiety, and breathing exercises to manage anxiety.

For support managing worry, also have a look at the document below. This includes advice about how to learn to separate your worries as well as evidence-based techniques for managing worry more effectively.

Living with worry and anxiety among global uncertainty

Health anxiety

Individuals who have health anxiety have an obsessional preoccupation with the notion of having, or developing, a physical health condition. It is common at this time to have increased thoughts of illness; however, some may find that these thoughts can become all-consuming and are getting in the way of day-to-day life.

I’ve got five minutes...

If you are unsure as to whether you are experiencing symptoms of health anxiety, you can visit Anxiety UK which outlines some of the common symptoms. These include constant examination of our health, and preoccupation which negatively impacts on many different aspects of life.

If you have concerns about your levels of health anxiety at present, Get Self-help have produced a four-minute video which helps us understand health anxiety, and how to break the cycle that maintains it.

Get Self-help have also described a cognitive behavioural approach for addressing health anxiety using the STOPP technique:

  • STOP! - just pause for a moment
  • Take a breath - one slow deep breath
  • Observe - there's that health worry again. My body and mind is reacting to that body sensation and I feel anxious
  • Pull back - this is just the health anxiety - my thoughts are reacting to the super scanner. Don't believe everything you think! Let's stick with the facts - these thoughts are just opinions. I don't have to react right now. There's another explanation for this... (normal body sensation, anxiety sensation). What's the bigger picture?
  • Practise / proceed - what can I do right now? I don't need to check or seek reassurance. I could practice my mindful breathing, or other things that help me.

I can find 10-20 minutes...

Anxiety UK offer online chats, a helpline and a series of webinars focussed on anxiety during the current situation. 

The Centre for Clinical Interventions in Western Australia has produced a free and comprehensive module on managing health anxiety, which includes how to re-evaluate unhelpful thinking, reduce checking, and developing a self-management plan.


For those of you who live with and manage OCD this is likely to be a difficult time. You may have learnt to manage your condition well, but may be finding it increasingly hard to do so given your current work situation as well as well as what you might be hearing and reading in the news.

I’ve got five minutes...

OCD UK have developed a set of survival tips for managing during this period. They include:

  • Washing your hands for 20 seconds and not a second longer
  • Be kind to yourself when things don’t go as planned (there may be times when 20 seconds becomes 30 seconds or a minute)
  • Limit your time on social media and be prepared to mute, unfollow or block
  • Remember what you can still do – not what you can’t – try making a list

Visit the OCD UK website for a full list of survival tips.

I can find 10-20 minutes

The Wellness Society has published a comprehensive anxiety workbook that you can use to support you to manage your anxiety through at this time. The workbook contains some great ideas for managing your anxiety at this time.

OCD Action are the UK’s largest OCD charity and are running Skype and phone support groups for those whose OCD has been exacerbated by the current situation.

Mood Juice have also developed a self-help guide for managing symptoms of OCD effectively. The guide helps you understand what keeps obsessional thoughts going and how to overcome them.

Sleeping better

Sleeping better

It is common for sleep to be disrupted at times such as these, even if you are more exhausted than usual. The top tips below have been selected for you at this time, as we know how important sleep is to your wellbeing and health. 

I’ve got five minutes...

10 top tips for better sleep (from Resolve):

  1. Think about what works for you now, going to bed at the same time (if you can) or waiting until you are sleepy. 
  2. If you can’t get to sleep in 20/30 minutes, get out of bed and do something relaxing (avoid your phone or the TV).  Wait until you are feeling sleepy to try again.
  3. Find a (new) bedtime routine, if you haven’t got as long to unwind, think about what you can still fit in – a cup of chamomile, or five minutes of relaxing music.
  4. If you are having no option but to exercise later in the day, try more relaxing exercise like pilates or yoga. 
  5. Try and have a gap between eating and bed, two hours if possible – if you can, juggle the order of tasks you are doing when you get home to give yourself a gap.
  6. Keep the bedroom as dark as possible, particularly if you are sleeping in the day and especially if you are not used to doing this.
  7. Even if routines and living arrangements have changed, where possible protect your bedroom for sleep and relaxing reading (not the news/social media). 
  8. If you find your mind is full of worries before bed, that is understandable – experiment with a notepad at the side of your bed and write down your worries for five minutes before bed 
  9. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes even if they may feel necessary to you right now. Perhaps experiment without them one night before bed and see what difference it makes to your sleep (and possibly your stress levels).
  10. Think about the foods you eat before bed – try to avoid sweet and starchy foods, even though they may be the ones you are craving for comfort or ease. See if you can have foods rich in tryptophan such as bananas, fish or turkey).

There are also a range of relaxation techniques in our section on anxiety that you may wish to add into your ‘new’ bedtime routine.

Tips for dealing with night shifts

NHS Professionals have published a range of tips for dealing with night shifts. This might be particularly helpful for you if this is something you are not used to. Their tips include short periods of rest (30 minutes before the shift), 10-20 minutes during the shift, staying hydrated, sleeping well in the day, and limiting your caffeine intake.


I can find 10-20 minutes...

If you want to learn more about how to improve your sleep Resolve have produced a great document with information on sleeping positions, yogic eye exercises, and emotional freedom techniques for insomnia.

Good Night's Sleep with Resolve (opens document)

If you are looking to develop your relaxation skills, try this relaxing video – with music and visuals – that will help you feel more relaxed over a cup of tea. All you have to do is breathe whilst you watch it.

Managing stress and exhaustion

Stress and burnout

In this section of content you will find resources for dealing with stress, and information about what we mean by burnout, and what may help if you are experiencing these signs. ​

Stress in itself is part of normal life, and it is normal to feel stressed during times of crisis. However, you may be feeling that your stress levels are becoming problematic, and getting in the way of day-to-day life and relationships. Although stress itself is not a mental health problem, it is closely linked to many common mental health problems. 

You may be finding it hard to relax, and it may even be that some of the ways you used to relax no longer feel possible. We have provided a range of effective techniques for you to try, and test out for yourself.

Please see this short video on simple and effective ways of coping with stress at this time.

I’ve got five minutes... 

The Oxford Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma has developed two documents to support frontline staff to manage stress and anxiety, underpinned by evidence-based psychological approaches. One document provides a summary of seven evidence-based tools for managing high stress and anxiety at this time. The other document provides a bit more detail about each suggestion, if you would like to know more.

To find out more about what we mean by stress, and how to manage it visit the MIND website.

We know that being able to take some control where you can, and slow life down just for a moment, can boost your wellbeing and help you through this period. Practice taking a pause moment, with our one-minute stress buster (opens document)

Grounding is really simple and easy technique, particularly useful for times of high stress. In essence, it’s about paying attention to the physical sensations of your body being physically connected to the ground. You can do it anywhere (whether you are at a desk or in an armchair for example) - and it’s easy to learn.

Have a go now (this is a version for when you are sitting on a chair):

  • Feel your feet firmly on the ground
  • Notice the weight of your body in the chair
  • Bring your attention to your back against the chair 
  • Explore the sensations of your elbows on the arms of the chair
  • As you do this, you will notice your attention wander, gently bring it back to the physical sensations of being connected to the ground
  • You can perhaps even imagine roots growing from your feet. Reaching into the ground, firmly anchoring you to the earth.

Help to find ways to feel a bit calmer:

For a fantastic range of tips for feeling calmer you can visit 4 Mental Health’s website. There are plenty of ideas you can try in just 30 seconds, such as counting down from 20, taking three deep breaths, and lowering your shoulders. Their section on three-minutes relaxers includes techniques such as box breathing or going to your virtual safe space in your mind.

Can you practise creating a five-minute space for yourself? Visit the Our NHS People website on how to do this, in order to help you to develop a quiet mind, and practice kindness and compassion towards yourself, whatever is going on in your world.

The five ways to wellbeing are an evidence-based way of improving your mental wellbeing, including managing your stress levels.

Guy's and St Thomas' (a hospital trust in London) has developed a great top tips guide (opens document) for sustaining your wellbeing at this time – well worth a read. Tips include remembering your managers will equip you for this work and support you, to remind yourself of the knowledge and skills you have, and that you are human, and working in even more exceptional circumstances than usual.

View the three-minute video by MIND on the link between eating and your mood, with tips for improving your mood through your diet. There might be some simple things you can change in your diet that could help how you are feeling.

For further tips on managing your stress at this time visit, there is a section on stress which includes top tips and videos. Some of the key tips are:

  • Splitting up big tasks (where possible)
  • Keeping active (if within the home – perhaps try online exercise classes)
  • Reframing unhelpful thoughts (i.e. ‘I can’t control anything’ could be reframed as ‘I can control my actions’)

Visit the Every Mind Matters website.

NHS Employers has provided a set of tips on managing fatigue in such circumstances. This includes eating small amounts of food that are easy to digest.

I can find 10-20 minutes...

The Free Mindfulness project has links to free practice sessions and online courses, tailored for the current situation.

Covid Calm clinics are short daily stress management clinics on Zoom, provided for healthcare professionals, and designed by mental health professionals.

This free short course, developed by Dr Tim Anstiss and Professor Paul Gilbert, aims to help you experience increased feelings of being settled, calm and focused at this time.

Burnout – what is it? What can help?

Burnout is a normal brain response to an overload of excessive stress. It is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign that your brain is trying to shut down a little to protect you from the constant threat of ongoing stress. 

You may be reading this concerned about the possibly of burnout given the demands currently on you, or the demands you are anticipating – perhaps you are wondering what you can do to prevent this happening. You may be reading this wondering if the things you are experiencing would be considered signs of burnout, and what may be helpful. 

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion. Signs include:

  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Feeling drained
  • Having low energy, feeling exhausted
  • Feeling hopeless and negative
  • Feeling cynical and resentful
  • Having no enjoyment for usual activities
  • Losing the will to engage with work 
  • Every day seems like a bad day
  • You feel like your work is pointless and your contribution isn’t valued
  • Increased illness or muscle pain/headaches
  • Relying too much on alcohol or other unhealthy crutches
  • Taking frustration out on others.

Burnout differs from stress in an important way. When people are stressed they feel that if they could regain some control then their stress would be somewhat taken away. With burnout, the common theme is having nothing left to give and feeling detached. Burnout can lead to depression and detachment.

What can you do at this time to manage how you are feeling?

Usual ways of helping yourself might be hard at this time. However, there are small but significant things that you could do for yourself to protect yourself against burnout or minimise its impact at the moment.

Self-talk. Tell yourself that you are valuable and that your efforts are worthwhile to many people. Try to remind yourself of your own personal positive qualities and play down the negative criticisms that you might make of yourself. Evidence shows that if we are able to tune into kinder messages inside our own minds then this can protect us against burnout and depression. 

Connect with others. If you are able to, talk to a colleague that you trust. Let people know if you’re struggling; there is no shame in this. Perhaps they will feel the same or perhaps they will be in a stronger position to offer you a little break or some practical support. Humans need to be connected and in times like these when burnout is a big risk, it is time to reach out. Talking to others in a similar boat can be very validating. Make use of external sources of staff support if you need to. 

Establish healthy, if new, routines. Sleep is the foundation of our health. Please look at our section on sleep for ideas to help you improve your sleep. Take the daily exercise outside that you are entitled to if you can. If you don’t have time then try some simple stretches before bedtime and when you wake up in the morning. Do some squats or lunges whilst you are waiting for the kettle to boil in the morning. Think about alcohol and smoking levels, both can impact on your mental health, and it may be helpful to consider how new routines could help you manage this.

Breathe slowly. Breathing well can be a very effective way of calming your nervous system down. Sit quietly somewhere for a few minutes (during your shift, after your shift) and close your eyes. Simply taking some long, slow deep breaths can be very restorative. 

Find some light and fun. Watch some comedy, listen to a podcast that cheers you up, read a book you love, watch something you find engaging on the TV. Help yourself stay focused on life outside of work for an hour or two. If you are lucky to have good friends or family members then call and have a chat about topics other than work to take your mind off it for a moment.

Set boundaries, where you can. You may not be able to do this at work, but perhaps at home you can let people know your boundaries. Do you need 10 minutes to yourself straight after work, do you need to call people on another day when you are more rested? It’s ok to protect yourself at this time.

Hope. There will be an end to the current crisis and there will be a return to a more normal life again. Try to hold this in mind. Nothing stays the same forever. 

Extra help. There is help available for you. Please reach out if you feel you require some support to cope with how you are feeling at the moment. 

Recovery from Covid-19

Recovery from Covid-19

As a staff member who has had Covid-19 you may feel a mix of emotions. There is no right or wrong way to feel.

You may feel relieved that you are on the road to recovery. You may not feel you are recovering as you’d imagined or hoped, and this may feel anxiety-provoking or frustrating.

You may feel angry that you, and other colleagues, have developed Covid-19. Perhaps you’re scared of more health problems, or scared other colleagues may go through what you have been through. You may also feel some very difficult feelings if colleagues, and others around you, have not recovered from Covid-19.

It is okay not to be okay.

Recovery from Coronavirus will often take time. Recovery time will vary from person to person.

We have provided information for you in this section on some of the common things you may be experiencing, and things that may help your recovery.

Information and support to manage your recovery

We have collated a range of tools and resources to support your recovery from Covid-19. There is an online course you may be interested in, or a booklet you can print off.

As you’ll know, many people find peer support very helpful when recovering from critical illness, and at the bottom of the page you’ll find some trustworthy peer support links.

The NHS has created a resource hub to support your recovery from Covid-19. You’ll find a range of helpful resources on tips such as eating well, sleeping well and physical activity.

Information from local hospitals

Chesterfield Royal Hospital have put together some really helpful information on their website to help you cope after you have had Coronavirus.

University Hospitals of Derby and Burton have a webpage to support your recovery from Coronavirus, with some useful information on common things you may be experiencing, and things that may help you manage your recovery.

Local information on emotional, psychological and cognitive aspects of your recovery

Clinical psychologists in Derbyshire have developed two leaflets called ‘Life after Covid-19’, to support your emotional and psychological recovery from Covid-19.

Both leaflets will provide you with information about common issues you may experience, and helpful tips for managing them. You’ll also find where to get more support, if you need it.

Life after Covid-19 - for individuals who were at home, in a care home or on a general hospital ward.

Life-after Covid-19 - for individuals who were cared for on a High Dependency Unit (HDU) or Critical Care Unit (CCU)

An online course to support your recovery from Covid-19

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals have developed a useful online course that you may find helpful.

A recovery information pack

A London NHS hospital has developed a comprehensive post-Covid-19 support pack with a range of tips on managing concerns such as breathlessness.

National information guides for managing your recovery from Covid-19

The Royal College of Occupational Therapists has published some excellent detailed guidance around the specifics of recovery if you are recovering from a bout of Covid-19 and you were able to stay at home throughout as well as if you needed hospital treatment.

Looking after your energy, as you recover from Covid-19

For some practical tips on conserving your energy, visit the Royal College of Occupational Therapists website.

Top tips include the ‘three Ps’ principle – learning to pace, plan and prioritise:

  • Pacing means to take your time and break tasks down. For example, washing the plates, taking a break, and then putting them away
  • Planning means to think ahead about the day or the week, spread out tiring activities. For example, building in time for rest
  • Prioritising means working out what’s important and what activities you can leave, or do another day. For example, if seeing people makes you feel better you might want to save your energy for this, rather than using it up on housework.

Sepsis UK have developed a helpful booklet on recovering after a critical illness that you might find useful at this time.

Support from others who have experienced Covid-19

If you have breathing difficulties after Covid-19, Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation have set up a Post-Covid Hub to support you. On the website there is tailored information and support for you if you were in intensive care, and if you were not. There is also a phone number you can call for support.

It can be helpful to connect with others who have been through similar experiences. For further information and peer support groups, visit the ICUsteps website.

Managing new roles and ways of working

Managing new roles and different ways of working

We’ve put this section together for you, because we are aware that many of you are now working in new roles, or being asked to work in new roles, or in different ways. Some of you may be feeling fine about what is being asked of you. You may have even requested to do this new role. These changes to your work have happened very quickly and you may feel you have had little time to prepare or plan for what’s ahead. Some of you may be feeling anxious or angry that you are being asked to do this new role.

In this section you will find some resources to help you to look after your wellbeing as you take on new roles or duties within your roles.

Working from home

We know many of you are now working from home. Some of you may have been told this will be continuing for at least the next few months. We know that although there may be positives of working from home for some people, such as not having a commute, for many people managing working from home has felt a challenge.

One of our wellbeing leads has developed this short and helpful video on looking after your wellbeing, while working from home.

It can be really helpful to think a little more about how we look after our wellbeing while working from home. Mind have developed a helpful tool called the Wellness Action Plan – Working from Home. Why not grab a cup of tea and take some time to complete it for yourself? It may be you choose to share some of your reflections, or even your plan, with your manager, a colleague or a family. It’s up to you.

Managing difficult conversations during Covid-19

You may be interested in a helpful visual guide that has recently appeared in the BMJ on Covid-19 communication aids.

Another conversation staff tell us feels difficult or awkward relates to physical distancing.

How to tell someone they’re too close? There’s no ‘right’ way of letting someone know that they’ve got too close, and at times it understandably feels an awkward conversation to be having with patients, colleagues, friends or family. We’ve all done the awkward edging away, or perhaps had those moments where we’d wished we’d said something.  

You have a right to let someone know they’ve got too close. It’s not rude. It’s you looking after your wellbeing, their wellbeing, and the wellbeing of others. Below are some suggestions below that might give you some ideas to get started:

“I think we’ve ended up a bit too near, takes a bit of getting used to this new way of doing things. I’m just going to step back a bit to make sure we keep to the two metres.”

“Are you ok to move back a bit please so we can keep to the two metres please. It’s really tricky to keep remember, I know, I keep catching myself almost slipping into the old way of doing things.”

“Hi. I may not have any symptoms but I am aware that any of us could still be a carrier of Covid and not know about it. Can we just distance ourselves a bit more please?”

“Hi. I really appreciate that you are wanting to (insert the words that feel most suitable to the situation), but would you mind moving back a little please?”

Perhaps work out a line you like and that fits for you. Try trialling it with someone you are very comfortable with, then practise it in different situations. Remember, with a little practice it will feel more normal, just like anything else that may have felt uncomfortable at first.

It’s normal to struggle with uncertainty and the unknown

Our brain is designed to help us predict and plan for what lies ahead so that we can do our best to avoid negative outcomes. This ability to anticipate events and problem-solve has helped the human race survive! On the flip side, when uncertainty is high and we can’t accurately plan for what lies ahead then we find this very stressful. Our brain tries its very best to predict what we might be dealing with which can result in ways of thinking that increase our levels of stress and anxiety.  

However, this in-built way of processing means that thinking about a new roles in this situation can feel anxiety-provoking.

Managing your thoughts at this time 

Do you feel like everything is out of control right now? The diagram below may be a reminder that there are almost always some things we can still control, some things we cannot control but can still influence, alongside, of course, some things we cannot control. 

Do you feel you can control everything, if you work hard enough? For you, the diagram below may be a reminder to you that there are some things you can’t control right now – and that this is not a failing, or because you don’t care.

Control diagram.png

Some things that may be helpful at this time

  • Can you reflect on what can you control right now?

Maybe you can read up on something that will make you feel more confident about your new role? Or speak to someone in the new team or your new buddy? Or someone with similar experiences? Maybe you can let your manager know your concerns? And what they can do to support you more usefully at this time?

  • And what can you influence? 

Maybe you can let your manager know how you feel about the way things are communicated to you and your team, whether it is from them, or from elsewhere in the organisation – as well as what helps you manage anxiety levels most effectively. Maybe you can see things that could be put in place to help you make the transition into a new role, or ways things could be done differently to reduce staff stress levels. 

  • Can you free your energy up, a bit?

Where you cannot control or influence a situation, then acceptance is the most helpful stance. Accepting that you genuinely can't control or influence something is not a sign that you’re ineffective, passive or uncaring. It doesn’t mean you like the situation or haven’t tried your best. Acceptance, in this scenario, allows you to free up your mental and emotional resources. Accepting can give you the strength to move on to the next task at work or at home.

Other helpful thinking patterns at this time

Hope. This can feel like a situation that is never-ending. Hope is important. Remind yourself that this is how things are now, but they will not always be like this. Tomorrow may be a better day that today. And the demands of work will not always be like they are today.

Learning. There are things to learn in every situation, and this can be helpful to focus on. You may be learning more about how you can cope in stress, and what helps you in stress. You may be learning new things about what you value in work or away from work, as well as what’s less important to you (that might have previously seemed essential to you).

Perspective. Pause and notice the thoughts you are having. They can often become an unhelpful vicious cycle. Can you take a different perspective – for example, if you are thinking about the day ahead, perhaps you can focus on a mini goal for the day, as opposed to what could potentially go wrong?

Managing your anxiety 

It’s normal to feel anxious at this time. It’s an in-built response. Anxiety is your body’s way of trying to keep you safe. There are quick and simple things that you can do to help you manage the anxiety that you are experiencing, so that it has less of an impact on you – whether at home, or at work.

Grounding is a simple and easy technique, particularly useful for times of high stress. It’s about paying attention to the physical sensations of your body being physically connected to the ground. You can do it anywhere (including whether you are at a desk or in an armchair) - and it’s easy to learn.  Have a go now (this is a version for when you are sitting on a chair) 

  • Feel your feet firmly on the ground
  • Notice the weight of your body in the chair
  • Bring your attention to your back against the chair 
  • Explore the sensations of your elbows on the arms of the chair
  • As you do this, you will notice your attention wander, gently bring it back to the physical sensations of being connected to the ground
  • You can perhaps even imagine roots growing from your feet. Reaching into the ground, firmly anchoring you to the earth.


Some other ideas for grounding 

  • Put your hands in water – notice how it feels. Use warm water, then cold water
  • Pick up an item near you – notice how it feels, what it look like, how it smells
  • Take a short walk – perhaps to the toilet, notice the sensations you experience as you walk
  • Find a scent you like and find relaxing – notice how it makes you feel, notice its qualities
  • Listen to the noises around you – try to notice what the noises are like, without labelling them, let the sounds wash over you
  • Feel your body, scan from head to toe – sitting or standing.

For other support to manage anxiety, please visit the Managing symptoms of anxiety and worry section on this web page. For tips on managing stress, and relaxation techniques please visit the Stress and burnout section on this web page.

Managing your emotions 

You may have a range of emotional responses to the prospect of a new role. You may feel sad, angry, scared, overwhelmed – or, indeed, all of these sometimes. You may feel positive about the prospect of the new role, and the role you will be playing in helping out. You may be feeling guilty or embarrassed about how you feel right now. There is no right or wrong way to feel. 

Your emotions may feel stronger than usual, and this can be scary. Some people can feel like they are not handling things, particularly if they are usually quite a calm or laid-back person. At times like this, in crisis, it is common to feel heightened emotions – or the opposite - less emotions than usual.

  • Can you talk to someone you trust such as a colleague (old or new)? Or perhaps you could try talking to someone else for support such as your manager, your wellbeing team, a coach or mental health first aider in your organisation, or a mental health professional (like a counsellor)
  • Practice being kind to yourself, it’s okay not to be okay, and it’s normal to feel emotional at this time – think about the way you talk to yourself (is it as you’d talk to a friend in your situation?), can you treat yourself to a walk at lunch, something nice for tea, a favourite TV show, a bath, 30 minutes with your favourite book?
  • Can you let those around you know what works for you when you feel emotional? This might be particularly relevant if you are in a new team. Do you like space, a cup of tea, or would you appreciate a private five-minute chat?
  • When your emotions are strong, it can help to create yourself a moment, to step away from the situation/email, to take a break, to take 10 deep breaths, and to choose how you would like to respond
  • Other things that can help manage strong emotions include doing exercise when you can, distracting yourself with music (perhaps on the way home), doing something with your hands (this might be a hobby), or doing something creative.

Looking after yourself at this time

At this time it will be important to look after your physical wellbeing, as well as you can. Please look at our website section on better sleeping if you have noticed changes in your sleep.

Physical activity is essential for our physical and mental wellbeing. However, it can feel hard to get exercise at this time, particularly if usual ways of getting exercise are not currently possible. Sport England have some great ideas for getting exercise in the current situation.

Dealing with the traumas of others, in your own home

The British Psychological Society has developed a guide for taking trauma-related work home.

Key resources to help you feel more confident and in control at this time

We have collected and developed resources for you at this time, as we are aware for some of you the work you are doing may feel very different and unfamiliar. We know for some of you having tips on doing these roles may help you feel more confident as you take on these new roles.

This one-page handout (opens document) gives you some really useful tips on having conversations with relatives over the phone, particularly if there is difficult news to share.

This short booklet (opens document) provides more information on talking about death and work, and some important tips on doing this.

Blythe House Hospice has developed a useful support booklet (opens document) for staff working in care home settings around some of the issues that you may be facing.

The British Psychological Society (BPS) has created a library of useful advice, including advice on “meeting the psychological needs of people recovering from severe coronavirus”, “the psychological impact on older people”, and “talking to children about coronavirus”.  For these documents, visit the BPS website.

Managing low mood and depression

Support for low mood and depression

Symptoms of depression are common. However, they can be scary to experience and it can often feel hard to see how they will improve.

There are lots of approaches that can help you effectively manage many symptoms of depression. 

In this section you will find information on managing low mood and depression, and coping with thoughts of suicide and self-harm. As with the rest of the content on this site, we have some resources/links for if you have five minutes, and some if you can find a bit more time, 10-20 minutes.

If you, or someone you know, is in immediate distress there are people you can talk to. You can:

  • Speak to a friend, family member or someone you trust
  • Call the Derbyshire Mental Health Helpline and Support Service on 0800 028 0077 (24/7, freephone)
  • Call the Samaritans 24-hour support service phone: 116 123 (free phone) or contact Samaritans online
  • Alternatively, you can text FRONTLINE to 85258 for support 24/7 via text.
  • Use the Staying Safe website for support, information and making your own safety plan
  • Make an urgent appointment to see your GP, who may be operating a call-back service. Contact NHS 111, though be aware of delays in accessing this service
  • In medical emergency and life-threatening situations only (where a person has taken an overdose or needs urgent medical attention) please dial 999 or attend your nearest hospital emergency department.


Managing low mood and depression

I’ve got five minutes...

MIND provide some top tips for managing depression, they include:

  • Talking to someone trusted (that might be a colleague, your manager, a friend or one of the national helplines – see details below)
  • Spending time in nature (that might be the garden if you have one, or looking out the window)
  • Practising self-care (perhaps make a list of things you enjoy, make a self care box )
  • Keep active (including dancing to a favourite tune in the living room!)

This five-minute self-compassion exercise may also be really helpful for you to listen to at this time.

This five minute grounding exercises focusses on all five senses and can be a good way to reduce overwhelming feelings


I can find 10-20 minutes...

NHS Inform have produced a self-help guide based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for managing mild to moderate symptoms of depression.

Try out the home work out video-

MIND’s website has plenty of information about depression and things that can help you manage it.

Another helpful resource for managing your mood (and anxiety) during this time has been developed by Russ Harris. The resource is underpinned by an evidence-based approach called acceptance and commitment therapy. The therapy is based on 'valued living' as well as focusing on what is within our control, and taking committed valued-based actions – including when circumstances are difficult. He has produced a workbook to accompany his six-page approach.

Workbook and emotional wellbeing during Covid-19

Every mind matters website has further resources and tips to support you mood and mental wellbeing.

Mens health forum is an interactive website providing support and advise for men on various health and mental health areas and difficulties.

Slivercloud – Is an online platform for gaining practical strategies to improve your mental health. It has various online programmes to support with resilience, stress and sleep especially related to demands from Covid-19.


Coping with suicidal thoughts

You might be feeling so upset, angry, bewildered, scared and in pain that you believe that these feelings will never end. But it's important to remember that they cannot and will not last. Like all feelings, unpleasant and distressing as these are they will pass.

There are steps you can take right now to stop yourself from acting on your suicidal thoughts. Everyone is different, so it's about finding what works best for you. Here are some practical tips that other people have found helpful when they've felt suicidal:

1.    Get through the next five minutes. Taking things minute by minute can help make things more bearable. Reward yourself for each five minutes that pass. 

2.    Remove anything you could use to harm yourself or ask someone else to remove these for you. If you're in an unsafe location, move away.

3.    Tell someone how you're feeling Whether it's a friend, family member or even a pet, telling someone else how you are feeling can help you to feel less alone and more in control. There's no right or wrong way to talk about suicidal feelings – starting the conversation is what's important.

Managing thoughts of self-harm

If you're thinking of harming yourself, find self-harm coping techniques that work for you, such as:

  • Holding an ice cube in your hand until it melts and focus on how cold it feels
  • Tearing something up into hundreds of pieces
  • Take a very cold shower or bath
  • Focus on your senses. Taking time to think about what you can smell, taste, touch, hear and see can help to ground your thoughts
  • Steady your breathing. Take long deep breaths - breathing out for longer than you breathe in can help you to feel calmer
  • Look after your needs. Avoid taking drugs or drinking alcohol as this can make you feel worse. If you can: get a glass of water, eat something if you're hungry, sit somewhere comfortable and write down how you're feeling
  • Get outside. If you are feeling numb, feeling the rain, sun or wind against your skin can help you to feel more connected to your body
  • Reach out. If you can't talk to someone you know, contact a telephone support service or use online peer support.


Managing thoughts of suicide

We have made of list of things that help some people to cope with suicidal thoughts:

  • Just focus on getting through today – try not to think about the future
  • Do something you usually enjoy, such as spending time with a pet
  • Make a deal with yourself that you won't act today and that you will review how you are feeling tomorrow. Sometimes it can help to make a contract to ‘keep yourself safe’ with someone you trust
  • Find your reasons to live. You may feel like the world will be better off without you or there's no point in living, but this is never the case. You could write down what you're looking forward to, whether it's eating your favourite meal, or catching up on the next episode of a TV show. You could make plans to do something you enjoy in the near future. Plans don't have to be big or expensive. You could think about the people you love. No matter how bad you're feeling, it's important to remember that these people would miss you.
  • Be kind to yourself. Talk to yourself as if you were talking to a good friend. Do whatever you think might help you to get past these thoughts. It could be something small like having a bath, wrapping yourself in a blanket and watching your favourite film. These ideas may seem silly but it can be easy to forget to do something nice for yourself
  • Tell yourself you can get through this. At times, we can concentrate on the negatives we tell ourselves and lose hope. Repeating to yourself that you can get past these feelings can help you regain hope and focus on getting through it.

Phone a helpline:

These free helplines are there to help when you're feeling down or desperate. Unless it says otherwise, they're open 24 hours a day, every day.

Derbyshire Mental Health Helpline and Support Service Derbyshire Mental Health Helpline and Support Service :: Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (

0800 028 0077

Samaritans – for everyone
Call 116 123


You can text FRONTLINE to 85258 for support 24/7 via text.

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – for men
Call 0800 58 58 58 – 5pm to midnight every day
Visit the webchat page

Papyrus – for people under 35
Call 0800 068 41 41 – Monday to Friday 9am to 10pm, weekends and bank holidays 2pm to 10pm
Text 07860 039967

Childline – for children and young people under 19
Call 0800 1111 – the number will not show up on your phone bill.


Support and resources for people from Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities

Support and resources for people from Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities

We know that Covid-19 has been affecting different communities in different ways. In particular, those who come from Black, Asian and ethnic minorities. The following links are a collection of websites, organisations and resources that specifically support these communities during the Covid-19 pandemic. It includes information for different age ranges, ethnic groups and backgrounds given that we are all different and experience and respond to the challenges of this pandemic in different ways. 

National information and resources

Muslim communities

Resources and information and guidance for Muslim communities regarding Covid-19, including mental health support and guidance.

South Asian communities

Resources and information and guidance related to Covid 19 which is translated into different south Asian languages.

Black communities

Black Girls Hike is a non-profit organisation which aims to make the UK countryside more inclusive and provide a safe space for Black women to explore the outdoors with like-minded individuals. Their regular hiking events also place emphasis on wellbeing and sisterhood. 

Chinese mental health

Information and resources around mental health difficulties for those who are part of the Chinese communities.

People from Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities

The Ubele initiative is a resources hub for people from Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities. Signing up to the newsletter will provide up to date information on Covid-19-related issues or wider community projects.

Mental health

Information for peer support in your communities. Resources and ways to sign up to offer peer support in the local area.

Rethink have various links with organisations for further support and help regarding mental health difficulties. 


A number of coping strategies to help with feelings of anxiety, this was produced by Bristol traumatic stress service and has been translated in to a number of different languages.

NHS staff from Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities

30-minute discussion with UNISON health group who lead a conversation with Yvonne Coghill, director of WRES implementation, NHS England, Kebba Manneh, chair of UNISON national Black members committee, and Margaret Greer, UNISON national race equality officer.

Older adults

Dr Elizabeth Webb provides an update on how Covid-19 is impacting black older people. There is more guidance and resources of supporting older adults with health and wellbeing on the Age UK website.


50 humanitarian organisations have produced a storybook which supports and help explain Covid-19 to children aged 6-11.


National organisation which supports victims, witnesses and third parties who have experienced hate crimes. The websiteprovides links to different service you can access and to gain further information.

Covid-related information

Guidance about Covid-19 which has been translated in to a number of different languages. The information has been produced by the government, British Red Cross, Migrant Help and Clear Voice.

Support and resources on a range of topics 

Community led support platform for those disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 crisis. You can access a number of different support organisations via the website

What is helping others (like you) at this time?

We have decided to dedicate this area of the webpage to what’s helping you all. No jargon, no links to long documents, or more guidance!

Just real experiences of how others like you have been learning to cope with working in a pandemic… We hope you find it helpful.

'It is smell that is helping to keep me calm and sane. Every morning I put on perfume, never wearing the same one two days on a trot which instantly makes me happy. I have a candle on my desk in the spare bedroom which keeps my workspace smelling beautiful and me calm. Looking at a flickering flame for a few moments is very grounding.' 

Kathryn Hart (MSK adminstrator)

‘Throughout this lockdown I’ve opted for humour and creativity to help me through. I Braved the Shave just before lockdown and started a Hat a Day for my friends on Facebook… when this is over I’ve realised I need to cull my hat collection! I’ve taken up my knitting needles too and created some new friends to keep me company while I’m working from home.’

Knitted friends.jpg

Helen Ward (Health improvement advisor)

‘Finding time to play is what is helping me right now’ 

Jane Elliott.jpg

Jane Elliott (Named nurse - safeguarding children)

‘Right from the start of working from home, I have kept to the same routine, i.e. get up at normal time, breakfast etc. and start work at the same time as I would normally have done when I am going into the office. I do get dressed properly as well as if I am going to work, so no jogging bottoms or old t-shirts for me. Even the lippy goes on!’ 

Leida Roome (PA to trust secretary and assistant director people and culture transformation)

‘I find being close to nature, pottering in my garden, or taking the dogs for a walk really helpful to unwind. It has been particularly good to connect with like-minded people and proving invaluable to connect virtually via WhatsApp or Microsoft Teams through our new DCHS Christian support group. It's okay to have a bad day and a wobble. When those happen let those close to you know how you’re feeling and don’t beat yourself up if you feel like you've not had a productive day.’ 

Helen Foley.pdf

Helen Foley (Clinical practice facilitator)

‘I’ve found slowing things down a bit when I’m not working has helped me. Like taking five minutes to sit outside with a cup of tea, with my phone out of sight, in the evening. And taking time to go for nice walks – and trying not to rush into the other things I perhaps feel ‘I should be doing when I’m off’. 

Dr Jo Hall (Clinical psychologist).

Derbyshire trees

Coping when something difficult has happened

We know that many of you are experiencing difficult events, both at home and at work. Drawing on what has helped you previously when difficult things have happened in your life, may be invaluable now. Even if you have to do things differently (such as connecting with friends online, or trying a home workout if exercise helps you).

In the section below you will find trustworthy information on some additional ways of coping when difficult things have happened.

Talking about death and dying at work

Managing the emotional impact of talking about death and dying

For some of you, talk about death at work may be unfamiliar. It’s normal if it feels upsetting to hear conversations about death and dying happening around you. You may be having conversations about dying with patients you are caring for, for the first time, and this can be anxiety-provoking. In addition, one of the particularly difficult aspects of a viral epidemic, is that is affects healthcare staff as well as the people who use our services, and it does this all at the same time.

It can be hard to talk about death and dying. We often worry about saying the wrong thing, ‘upsetting’ people, feel anxious about how to start the conversation, or if we do, we can feel overwhelmed by the other person’s distress, particularly if we feel we should ‘fix’ it for them. 

Talking about dying can be difficult for the listener. It is perfectly normal to experience feelings of shock, denial and frustration at the prospect of someone dying. It is important to distinguish between giving empathy, and not taking on others’ feelings as our own. Sometimes talking about death can awaken painful memories of people we have lost, or bring up current anxieties we have. It is important to get extra support when we need it. 

In this section we have provided some tips on looking after yourself at this time. 

Looking after yourself 

It will be important for you to use the same resources and advice for yourselves that you give others. Some useful advice to consider is known as ‘BREATHE’, which is:

B – Be kind to yourself

R – Respect your body by not overindulging alcohol, drugs, and bad food; by getting enough sleep, and by moving around at least a little every day

E – Engage with others in big and/or small ways. Try not to isolate. Connect with colleagues or your leaders, phone a friend, wave to your neighbours

A – Allow your emotions to ebb and flow. Don’t run from them 

T – Take life one minute, hour, and day at a time

H – Allow yourself space

E – Your critical voice has a lot of expectations. Remember, there are very few “shoulds” when it comes to coping with grief, death and dying. Everyone copes in their own way and at their own pace.  So give yourself a break. 

Some things that it may be helpful to hold in mind at this time are:

  • The things that affect us the most may not make sense to us
  • Be aware of how you react
  • Stay grounded in your motivation to do a job well
  • Be forgiving of others
  • Keep well informed and well connected
  • Raise concerns and ideas for action
  • Informally support each other emotionally
  • Focus on the things you can control rather than those you can’t
  • Find safe people to talk through your worries.

Based on work by the Tees, Esk, and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust and the Need for Self-Compassion in Grief.

It can be useful to think about the control-influence-accept model:

“Some situations you can control, others you can’t control but can influence. In these cases, do this to the best of your ability. Where you can do neither then acceptance is the most helpful stance. Accepting that you genuinely can't control or influence something is not a sign that you're ineffective, passive or uncaring. It doesn’t mean you like the situation or haven’t tried your best. But it allows you to free up mental and emotional resources. Accepting can give you the strength to move on to support the next patient and family.” 

Dr Jo Levene, clinical psychologist, Twitter Post 1.18 pm, 29 March 2020

Some staff teams find it helpful to use the Going Home Checklist to reflect on their day, particularly during difficult periods of work.

Dealing with loss

Dealing with loss

The pain of loss can be overwhelming. Grief is a normal response to loss, and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. You may also not have enough time or space right now to grieve, and that can feel very challenging.

In this section we have provided links to a range of charities that provide support with different types of bereavements, and offer telephone and online support services.

We have also provided you with some ideas for looking after yourself at this time, and for grieving for someone if you are not able to have, or attend, a funeral.

If you’ve got five minutes...

Common symptoms:

Bereavement, grief and loss can cause many different symptoms and they affect people in different ways. There's no right or wrong way to feel. It can be helpful to know some of the common symptoms, we have listed them below:

  • Shock and numbness – this is usually the first reaction to loss, and people often talk about 'being in a daze'
  • Overwhelming sadness, with lots of crying
  • Tiredness or exhaustion
  • Anger – towards the person you've lost or the reason for your loss
  • Guilt – for example, guilt about feeling angry, about something you said or did not say, or not being able to stop someone you cared for dying

These feelings may not be there all the time and powerful feelings may appear unexpectedly.

It's not always easy to recognise when bereavement, grief or loss are the reason you're acting or feeling differently.

There are things you can try to do to help you cope with bereavement, grief and loss. We have compiled a list below:

  • You can try talking about your feelings over the phone or the internet to a friend, family member, health professional or counsellor – you could also contact a support organisation such as Cruse Bereavement Care  
  • You can try simple lifestyle changes to help you feel more in control and able to cope, a little exercise (home-based, or outside following Government guidance), a regular bed-time routine, limiting alcohol, maintaining contact with relatives and friends as best you can using the phone or the internet. Try not to use alcohol, cigarettes, gambling or drugs to relieve grief
  • You can find out about how to improve your sleep - see the sleep section of this webpage
  • You can look into relaxation and mindfulness on our website - see the ‘managing stress’ section of this webpage
  • You can set small targets that you can easily achieve – don’t try and do everything at once
  • You can try focusing your time and energy into helping yourself feel better – not the things you can’t change
  • Practice being kind to yourself… it’s ok not to be ok.

How to cope when you are unable to attend a funeral and/or if the deceased had no funeral

Grief rituals are central to any mourning process and they help us to grieve for the person we have lost. However, sometimes in unprecedented situations a funeral, wake or memorial service may not be possible. This is undoubtedly a difficult time and as such we may need to find other ways to acknowledge the loss that has happened in ways that feel meaningful for us. 

You may want to have a look at our list of ideas that may enable you to start to grieve the person that you have lost. 

  • Light a candle in their memory
  • Make a quilt out of their old clothes
  • Finish any projects they were working on
  • Cook their favourite meal
  • Reach out remotely initially to family and friends who are also grieving and share stories about the departed
  • Plant a flower or vegetable in your garden and put in a decoration that reminds you of them
  • Wear their favourite perfume or cologne
  • Sing their favourite song
  • Frame something they've written, like a poem or a recipe
  • Live your life in a way that would make them proud
  • You can also remember them by naming a star after them, or look into some of online memorial spaces that have been set up
  • In time, hold a memorial service or candlelight vigil.

Coping with the loss of a colleague 

The loss of a colleague is likely to upset and shake us deeply, in any circumstance. During this pandemic, however, our emotional reactions will also be influenced by the current professional and personal challenges we are experiencing. This can make our feelings even more overwhelming or hard to handle.

There are a few things that may be helpful to consider:

  • Acceptance of your reaction/s – You may feel a range of reactions to hearing about the loss of a colleague, be unsure as to what you are feeling, or if what you are feeling is ok. You may notice you are having a different emotional response to your other colleagues. There is no right or wrong way to feel. We are all different. Remind yourself – this is what I feel right now. 
  • Take initiative, if it feels right to you – If you feel that you’d like your workplace to do something to remember your colleague, and it’s not been suggested – discuss it with your supervisor. Some people find a memory journal helpful, perhaps placed somewhere personal to your colleague (such as their workspace). 
  • Reach out – We all find different support helpful. It is ok to feel that you need to connect with others for support and comfort. You might find connecting with colleagues works for you at this time. It may be you find it helpful to talk to your manager, loved ones outside of work, a helpline/text service like Samaritans where you can talk to someone you don’t know, or in-house counselling. 
  • Look after yourself – It may be feeling hard to look after you right now. That’s understandable. Try finding small moments of self-care in your day, it doesn’t need to be more than a pause moment. Time for a cup of tea and a deep breath, or a minute looking out of a window and listening to the sounds you can hear.
  • Be kind to yourself – There can feel a pressure to feel a certain way, maybe to fit in with what your colleagues seem to be feeling or doing or your own expectations of yourself. You may feel a pressure to be a certain way or to do certain things at work, before you feel able to. You may not have the time or space to grieve or focus on your feelings right now. Be patient and kind to yourself, speak to yourself as you would a good friend who was in this situation. 

If you’ve got 10-20 minutes...

For information on bereavement visit Mind’s website, which has information about experiences of grief and support and self-care.

For support if you are a survivor of bereavement by suicide, you can call the (Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide) helpline on 0300 111 5065. You can also find advice at the SOBS website

Cruse also offers advice for survivors of bereavement by suicide. You can call their helpline on 0808 808 1677.

The Help is at Hand guide is produced by Public Health England and the National Suicide Prevention Alliance. It includes information about common feelings at this time, and talking to colleagues.

Support after Suicide Partnership is an organisation that has produced a range of resources with tips on things that may help, and things that may not help. 

If you or someone else you know is feeling suicidal there are people you can talk to: 

  • Speak to a friend, family member or someone you trust
  • Call the 24-hour Derbyshire Mental Health Helpline and Support Service on  0800 028 0077 (this is a Freephone number)
  • Call the Samaritans 24-hour support service on telephone 116 123
  • Use the website for support, information and making your own safety plan
  • Contact NHS 111, though be aware of delays in accessing this service
  • Make an urgent appointment to see your GP, who may be operating a callback service
  • Ring 999
  • If you require urgent medical intervention go to your nearest emergency department, though be aware that there are increased demands on and transmission risks in emergency departments at this time.

Coping with trauma

Coping with trauma

You may be reading this because something difficult has happened to you or someone you know and care about. Or perhaps you are concerned about how you would cope if something difficult happens.

You will find information on what reactions would be expected and normal, and in what circumstances it could be wise to ask for further help. There are plenty of things that can help you cope with how you are feeling if you have experienced something difficult. It is also important to let you know that there is also tailored support, there for you, should you need it.

If you’ve got five minutes...

It could be helpful to read about the common psychological responses to a crisis or traumatic event/s below:

  • Disbelief
  • Emotional numbness
  • Nightmares and other sleep disturbances
  • Anger, moodiness and irritability
  • Forgetfulness
  • Denial
  • Guilt
  • Panic
  • Catastrophic thinking
  • A shaky emotional foundation.

Have a look at our top tips for things to do in the middle of a crisis, or in the immediate aftermath. Creating a sense of safety for ourselves is hugely important, we can do this in all sorts of ways:

  • Stick to a routine
  • Take time to breathe and be mindful (focus on your immediate task and surroundings)
  • Have supportive conversations with trusted person/people (psychological debriefing is not recommended, and has been found to be harmful)
  • Exercise (gently)
  • Try not to push negative thoughts away, rather let them come and go
  • Be kind to yourself - speak to yourself in an encouraging and soothing way. Don’t beat yourself up if you are struggling
  • Rest, eat well and laugh at things you enjoy. Focus on hope and the idea that things will improve.

It could be helpful to read the information below about if and when you might be recommended to seek additional support, and what this might be like:

These experiences above can continue for a few weeks following a trauma or crisis, typically once the event has ended. It would be usual to struggle with memories, nightmares, increased worry and hypervigilance for around a month or so. 

Mental health professionals agree that if the common psychological reactions that are listed above continue after around four-to-six weeks after the event/s or the crisis has settled then there could be something more serious going on. At this point it is appropriate to speak to a professional such as your GP about being assessed for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

The reassuring thing is that PTSD is a very common and a very treatable condition. It is possible to make a full recovery from PTSD. Treatment for PTSD mainly involves speaking to a therapist in a safe place to work through the events and the problems that you are left with (nightmares, flashbacks, memories, difficult emotions etc.) in order that you can 'file them away' more neatly in your brain so that they no longer cause you so much distress.

The trauma response working group is comprised of many experts in the field and they have put together a website with information and resources to support you at this time. If you have a bit more time today, you will find many really useful and trustworthy resources on the website.

Growth after trauma

For many people, knowing that experiencing some positive changes or ‘growth after trauma’ is both possible, and common, can provide hope.

Between 30 to 70% of people who experience trauma report positive change and growth arising out of the traumatic experience, and their responses to it (Joseph and Butler, 2010). 

Growth after trauma does not mean the absence of distress but, rather, describes the helpful benefits that some people observe when they reflect on the impact of their traumatic experience.

Commonly reported changes include: 

  1. Finding new strength and abilities
  2. Improving good relationships
  3. A positive change in priorities, values and attitudes to life and philosophies.

Growth after trauma has been described as the finding of a glimmer of hope even in situations which are very difficult, (sometimes called a process of “meaning-finding”).

To read more on the topic, see this article in the New York Times.

If you can find 10-20 minutes...

You may want to read more about trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on the MIND website. They have a list of support options if you decide you need some additional support with your symptoms. Please see advice above about when seeking further support might be recommended.

MIND - about trauma

MIND - about PTSD

The British Psychological Society has developed a guide for taking trauma-related work home.

Suicide Postvention Support Pack for General Practices

A death by suicide has a wide-ranging impact and can affect up to 135 people per death. To help manage the aftermath of a death by suicide a Postvention Support Pack for Primary Care in Derbyshire has been developed.

This pack takes you through the steps required as a Practice and provides information on how to support anyone affected by the death, including family members, friends or staff.

You can find the latest, up-to-date guidance on suicide prevention and bereavement, including updates to the pack on the Derby and Derbyshire emotional health and wellbeing site.