Nine coronavirus worries and how to deal with them

This article was last updated on 27 March 2020.

At this time of the school year, you’d expect to be asking yourself a few tricky questions. Maybe about your revision timetable, your summer exams, or simply how many chocolate eggs it’s acceptable to eat in one sitting. But coronavirus has turned everything on its head.

The relentless news, combined with social distancing, schools closing and trying to adapt to a new routine might, understandably, be making you feel anxious. If you are, you’re not alone.

To get some advice on how to help you cope with your emotions in these unusual times, we spoke to Kadra Abdinasir, Head of Children and Young People’s Mental Health at The Centre for Mental Health in the UK.

Let’s recap on Kadra’s advice:

1. Talk to a trusted adult if you feel worried, fearful or scared. If you don’t feel that you have anyone to talk to, charities like Childline or YoungMinds can offer support.

2. Offer support to friends if they seem worried. Share this article, point them in the direction of helpful resources, or simply be there to listen.

3. Focus on what you can control, rather than what you can’t. Proper hand washing routines, social isolation and connecting virtually with loved ones are all things you can take ownership of.

4. Schedule breaks from social media. It’s going to be tempting to check your phone every five minutes, but seeing constant updates will only add to feelings of anxiety. Try leaving your phone in a different room for a few hours, on silent, and only check trusted, reliable news sources.

5. Create a bedtime routine. Shut off digital devices at least an hour before bed. Try something calming, like reading, to get you into a more relaxed frame of mind.

6. Stay in contact with elderly relatives. It’s normal to be worried about them right now, so reach out and show them you care. Send an email or pick up the phone. You could even write them a letter if they’re not so tech-savvy.

7. Keep learning. Your teachers will do everything they can to make sure that you can keep learning at home. There are also lots of free resources online that you can explore. Bitesize is a great place to start.

8. Keep enjoying yourself. Your school week might have been peppered with after-school clubs or sports teams. Keep exercising, keep practising the piano (or trumpet, or guitar... ), and consider picking up a new hobby or skill. Always wanted to learn Mandarin? Now’s the time!

9. Try not to take on your parents’ worries. You might feel anxious about money, your parents’ job security or their health, but they will be receiving all the advice they need from trusted sources. It’s hard, but just focusing on keeping yourself well and happy, could be the biggest help to your parents right now.

If you need support

You should always tell someone about the things you’re worried about. You can tell a friend, parent, guardian, teacher or other trusted adult. If you are struggling with your mental health, going to your GP can be a good place to start to find help. Your GP can let you know what support is available to you, suggest different types of treatment and offer regular check-ups to see how you’re doing.

If you are in need of in-the-moment support you can contact Shout 85258, a free, 24/7 text messenger support service for anyone in the UK. Text the word “SHOUT” or “YM” to 85258 to start a conversation.

There are more links to helpful organisations on BBC Action Line.

Coronavirus mythbusters: Sorting the facts from the fakes
Quiz: Debunking the coronavirus
Tips for spotting fake news online