Depression Symptoms 722x406 1 - How to manage depression during COVID-19

30 April 2020

What can help me to manage my depression?

  • Talk to others, tell others how you are feeling. You do not have to see them in person, you can use online platforms or phone if necessary.
  • Try and focus on an activity you enjoy. This may be something you’ve always enjoyed or it may be something new.
  • Increasing and/or modifying your daily activity, so that you increase things which you enjoy or which make you feel worthwhile. You can start by keeping a daily record of exactly how you are spending your time. Rate each activity from 0 to 10 according to how much pleasure or sense of achievement you get from it. After a period of at least a week, look back to pinpoint the activities that you enjoyed, and those that gave you a greater sense of achievement. You can then begin to plan more activities that give you a sense of pleasure and achievement.
  • Look after yourself Resist the temptation to cope with your depression by using alcohol or other substances. In the short-term this may give you some relief, but in the long-term this can lead to other health and psychological difficulties.
  • Try to go outside every day. If can’t do this try and sit by an open window.
  • Trying to eat as healthily as possible can help to keep you in good health and can aid recovery.

Identify and evaluate negative thoughts

Negative thoughts are central to what keeps you depressed. Some people find distraction useful, so when a negative thought pops into your head, distract yourself from the thought by doing something that keeps your mind busy. Distraction is often used as a short-term coping strategy. In the long-term, you need to find other ways of managing your negative thoughts. One way to do this is to test the truth of your negative thoughts by examining all the evidence that supports or does not support each of your thoughts.

Taking into account this evidence will allow you to develop a more balanced alternative thought. It may be helpful to ask yourself how you would have viewed this situation before you became ill, or what someone else might think in this situation?

Problem solving

Problem solving is a useful way of tackling practical problems. Identify the problem you want to work on, and then think of as many solutions as possible.

Choose the one that seems to be the best, and then work on putting this into action. Once you start, you will need to review your progress and possibly modify the solution.

When should you seek professional help?

If your feelings of depression:

• Don’t seem to be getting better with time

• Begin to affect your feelings towards family and friends, your work and your interests

• If you feel that life is not worth living, or that other people would be better off without you

If you are worried by any of the above phone the Samaritans on 116 123, NHS 111 or your GP practice.

Recommended websites

“We’re here to help you make small changes that fit your life, so you feel better and healthier every day.

Every Mind Matters gives you simple and practical advice to get a healthier mind and get more out of life – from how to deal with stress and anxiety, to boosting our mood or sleeping better. It will help you spot the signs of common mental health conditions, get personalised practical self-care tips and information on further support. You’ll also learn about what you can do to help others.

It only takes a minute to get started with our short free quiz to create Your Mind Plan with personalised tips and advice.”

  • A new resource created with the current lockdown in mind to “help you find ways to feel a bit calmer and for ideas to help you cope”.

Recommended apps

All these apps are free to download and use. Some may have in-app purchases.

CALM HARM: An app designed to help people resist or manage the urge to self-harm. It’s private and password-protected.

CATCH IT: Learn to look at problems differently, turn negative thoughts into positive ones and improve your mental wellbeing.

COVE: Create music to help express complex feelings. Cove is a personal musical journal to help you with your mental health.

DISTRACT: Get quick, easy and discreet access to information and advice about self-harm and suicidal thoughts.

EQUOO: EMOTIONAL FITNESS GAME, Use adventure games designed by psychologists to increase your emotional fitness and learn new psychological skills.

FEELING GOOD: Improve your thoughts, feelings, self-esteem and self-confidence using the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy.

MY POSSIBLE SELF: Pick from 10 modules to learn how to manage fear, anxiety and stress, and take control of your thoughts, feelings and behaviour.

STAY ALIVE APP: The stay alive app offers help and support, both to people with thoughts of suicide and to people concerned about someone else. It can be found on the following website.