How to help yourself and others during COVID-19.
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Stay Safe

This section tells you all about how to keep yourself and others safe during COVID-19, also known about coronavirus. Here you will find information about social distancing, self-isolation and shielding, what to do if you think you might have coronavirus and keeping yourself safe at home.

How to protect myself and others
Self-Isolation

Self-isolation is important to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Self-isolation means that you:  

  • stay at home, do not go to work, school or public areas or use public transport; 
  • do not leave the home to buy food or essentials or to exercise 
  • do not have visitors to the home 
How long do I have to stay at home for if I have symptoms or if I test positive? 

If you have COVID-19 symptoms (a high temperature, a continuous cough, loss of taste or smell) or you have received a positive test result then you must self-isolate for 10 days from when your symptoms started. You must arrange a test as soon as you get symptoms and you must stay at home whilst waiting for a test and waiting for your results.

A positive test result means you must stay at home for 10 days from when your symptoms started.

A negative test result means you can stop isolating as long as you feel well enough to resume normal activities and no one in your household is showing symptoms.

Do I have to stay home if I don’t have symptoms but I tested positive?

If you do not have symptoms but you have tested positive, you must stay at home and self-isolate for 10 days from the day the test was taken. If you develop symptoms after your test, you must restart your 10 day isolation period from the day the symptoms started.

Do I have to stay at home if I live in the same household as someone with symptoms or a positive test? 

Yes, you need to stay at home for 14 days. This is because you may have been exposed to the virus and could pass it on to others, even if you don't have symptoms. The 14-day period starts from the day the first person in your house developed symptoms, or if they do not have symptoms, from the day their test was taken.

If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 yourself you do not need a test. Only arrange a test if you develop COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild those symptoms are.

If you develop symptoms whilst self-isolating and your test result is positive, follow the same advice for people with COVID-19 to stay at home and self-isolate for 10 days from when your symptoms started, regardless of where you are in your 14-day period.

What if I have tested positive but I don’t want to self-isolate?  

Anyone who is notified that they have tested positive for COVID-19 and advised to self-isolate has a legal duty to self-isolate. Failure to comply may result in a fine, starting from £1,000. Parents or guardians are legally responsible for ensuring that anyone under 18 self-isolates if they test positive for COVID-19 and are contacted by NHS Test and Trace and told to self-isolate.

What does it mean if I receive a negative COVID test result? 

A negative result means the test did not find COVID-19 at the time the test was taken.

If you have a negative test result, you can stop isolating as long as:

Anyone in your household who is isolating because of your symptoms can also stop isolating.

If your test result is negative but you still have symptoms, you may have another virus such as a cold or flu. You should stay at home until you feel well. Seek medical attention if you are concerned about your symptoms.

When can I return to a normal routine? 

You can return to your normal routine and stop self-isolating after 10 days if your symptoms have gone or if you continue to have just a cough or a loss of smell or taste. This is because a cough or loss of taste or smell can last for several weeks once the infection has gone.

If you still have a high temperature after 10 days, stay at home and seek medical advice.

Do I have to shield if I am clinically extremely vulnerable and someone in my household has been tested positive or has symptoms?

Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable should be supported to minimise their contact with other people in the household during this period, regardless of whether others have symptoms or not.

I have been self-isolating for 14 days as someone in my house has developed symptoms or tested positive. What if I develop symptoms during the 14 day period? 

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 during the 14-day isolation period, arrange to have a COVID-19 test.

If your test result is positive stay at home for 10 days from the day that your symptoms started, regardless of where you are in your 14-day period.

If your test result is negative, you are still at risk of developing COVID-19 and should continue to stay at home for the full 14-day period. You could spread the infection to others during this time even if you do not have any symptoms.

How do I treat my symptoms? 

There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus (COVID-19), but you can often ease the symptoms at home until you recover. Further information can be found via the NHS.

Can I have visitors in my house whilst I’m self-isolating? 

Do not invite or allow visitors to enter your home, including friends and family. If you want to speak to someone who is not a member of your household, use the phone, email or social media.

Is my support bubble allowed to visit me whilst I’m self-isolating? 

Once you’re in a support bubble, you can think of yourself as being in a single household with people from the other household, therefore they are allowed to visit, but you should try to avoid contact as much as possible while you isolate. If you become symptomatic during your 14 days isolation, then anyone in your support bubble would need to isolate and follow the Stay at Home guidance for 14 days from that point along with the rest of your household.

What if I have carers that need to attend as part of essential care? 

If you or a family member receive essential care in your home, carers should continue to visit and follow the provision of home care guidance to reduce the risk of infection.

Are tradesman allowed to enter my home whilst I’m self-isolating? 

All non-essential in-house services and repairs should be postponed until the self-isolation period is completed.

Can I walk my dog if I’m self-isolating?

No, you will have to ask help from friends or family with this. Pet owners who have COVID-19 or who are self-isolating with symptoms should restrict contact with pets and wash their hands thoroughly before and after interacting with their pet.

If I can’t go to the shops, can I ask friends or family to help?

Yes, you will have to ask friends or family to drop off anything you need or order supplies online or by phone, making sure these are left outside your home for you to collect. No one should enter your property.

I don’t have friends or family to help. Where can I access help for shopping and medication whilst I’m self-isolating?

Our ‘help with shopping’ tab provides useful contact numbers for assistance.

Staying at home will make my mental health worse, where can I get help?

We understand the effect staying at home has on mental health. Please follow the ‘Looking after your mental health tab’ below for further information and support.

Can I attend my routine health appointment whilst self-isolating?

All routine medical and dental appointments should be cancelled while you are staying at home. If you are concerned or have been asked to attend in person during this time, discuss this with your medical contact first (for example, your GP or dentist, local hospital or outpatient service).

Can I seek medical advice or urgent help whilst self-isolating?

Seek prompt medical attention if your illness or the illness of someone in your household is worsening. If it is not an emergency, contact the NHS 111 online COVID-19 service or NHS 111 for other health conditions. If you have no internet access, call NHS 111.

If it is a medical emergency and you need to call an ambulance, dial 999. Inform the call handler or operator that you or someone in your household has COVID-19 or symptoms if that is the case.

What financial support is available if I’m self-isolating?

Tell your employer if you cannot work while you're self-isolating. They should tell you if you're covered by their sick leave or special leave policy.

If you cannot get sick pay from your employer, you might be able to get Statutory Sick Pay or another type of financial support.

If you are unable to work due to COVID-19, you may be entitled to a one-off payment of £500 through the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment scheme if you are required to stay at home and self-isolate.

Can I work from home if I am self-isolating?

If you work enables you to work from home then you should do this. If you cannot work from home, please discuss with your employer.

Can I get a note to prove I am self-isolating?

You can get an isolation note to send to your employer as proof you need to be off work. You do not need to get a note from a GP

Can I still breastfeed?

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, have tested positive or are living in a household with someone who has COVID-19, you may be concerned about the infection spreading to your baby if you are breastfeeding.

The benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of transmission of the virus through breast milk or by being in close contact, however, this will be an individual decision. Talk to your midwife, health visitor or GP by telephone.
 

Is it law to self-isolate?

It is a legal requirement to self-isolate and you could be fined if you do not stay at home and self-isolate following a positive test result for COVID-19, or if you are a contact of someone who has tested positive, and you are notified by NHS Test and Trace that you need to self-isolate.

It is also an offence to knowingly provide false information about your close contacts to NHS Test and Trace.

Failure to comply with these requirements may result in a fine of up to £10,000.
 

Social distancing and stopping the spread of coronavirus

We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:

  • Stay at home as much as possible
  • Work from home if you can
  • Limit contact with other people
  • Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • Wash your hands regularly, with soap and water
  • Self-isolate if you or anyone in your household has symptoms

For more information please view the latest government guidance.

Social distancing

The Government has issued advice on actions we should all be taking to reduce social interaction and limit contact between people to reduce the spread of coronavirus. This is called ‘social distancing’.

It says we should:

  • avoid contact with someone who is showing symptoms of coronavirus. These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
  • avoid non-essential use of public transport, varying your travel times to avoid rush hour, when possible
  • work from home, where possible
  • avoid large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars, clubs
  • always stay at least 2m (3 steps) away from other people
  • use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services

Keep your hands and face as clean as possible

Wash your hands more often - with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitiser when you get home or into work, when you blow your nose, sneeze or cough, eat or handle food. Avoid touching your face. 

Where available, use sanitiser outside your home, especially as you enter a building and after you have had contact with surfaces.

Face coverings 

If you can, wear a face covering in public spaces where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet. It is now required by law to wear a face covering on public transport.



You can make face-coverings at home. The key thing is it should cover the mouth and nose. 

Please view the download section for a poster about creating your own face covering.

I think I might have coronavirus

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

The most common symptoms are:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back 
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours 
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything

If you have any of these symptoms do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. 

Stay at home and use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

111 will tell you what to do and help you get a test if you need one.

If you are a worried about a baby or a child contact 111 and if you are worried there is something seriously wrong call 999.  Don’t delay getting help if you are concerned.

If you have symptoms you need to self-isolate 

You should self-isolate if you or someone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus, even if they are only mild symptoms. Self-isolation means staying at home. 

If you get any symptoms of coronavirus:

  • Get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible
  • If you have symptoms, you must self-isolate for 10 days from when your symptoms started. You should only leave your house to get your test. 
  • Anyone you live with must self-isolate until you’ve been tested and received your result
  • Anyone in your support bubble must self-isolate until you’ve been tested and received your result

If you need help while you are staying at home, please see the next section for ideas on how to get support. If you cannot find anyone that can support you, please contact our emergency helpline on 01902 290241.

More detailed advice on self-isolation is available on the gov.uk website.

Also available in easy read format.

Can I get tested?

If you have any symptoms of coronavirus, book a test immediately on NHS.uk/coronavirus or call 119 if you do not have internet access. 

You should isolate yourself if you have any coronavirus symptoms and only leave your house when going to get your test.

The following groups of people can access priority testing through GOV.UK:

  • essential workers
  • anyone over 5 years old who has symptoms of coronavirus and lives with an essential worker
  • children under 5 years old who have symptoms of coronavirus and live with an essential worker

In England, you can get tested if you’re a social care worker or a resident in a care home whether you have symptoms or not. See the guidance below on testing for care home residents and workers.

What is NHS Test and Trace?

The Government has launched NHS Test and Trace. This service:

  • ensures that anyone with symptoms of coronavirus can quickly be tested 
  • helps trace close recent contacts of anyone who tests positive for coronavirus and, if necessary, notifies them that they must self-isolate at home to help stop the spread of the virus
If you get symptoms of coronavirus

If you get any symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste):

  • get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible
  • you must self-isolate for 10 days from when your symptoms started. You should only leave your house to get your test. 
  • anyone in your household or support bubble must self-isolate until you’ve been tested and received your result
     
What to do when you get your test result

If you test negative (you do not have coronavirus):

  • keep self-isolating for 14 days from when you were last in contact with the person who has coronavirus – as you could get symptoms after being tested
  • anyone in your household or support bubble can stop self-isolating if they do not have symptoms

If you test positive (you have coronavirus):

  • self-isolate for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started, even if it means you're self-isolating for longer than 14 days
  • anyone in your household or support bubble must self-isolate for 14 days from when your symptoms started
  • you will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace within 24 hours and asked to give contact details of people you have come into close, recent contact with and the places you have visited
  • the Contact Tracing team will then find those people you came into contact with using email and phone numbers and will tell them to self-isolate for 14 days even if they do not have any symptoms
     
What happens if I have been in close contact with someone who tests positive?

What happens if I have been in close contact with someone who tests positive?

  • You may be alerted by NHS Test and Trace and will be asked to begin self-isolation for up to 14 days, depending on when you last came into contact with the person who tested positive.
  • It is really important to do this even if you don’t feel unwell because it can take some time for symptoms to develop. 
  • Your household doesn’t need to self-isolate with you if you don’t have symptoms, but they must take extra care on social-distancing and washing hands.

What if I develop Covid-19 symptoms while I am self-isolating?

  • You must book a test as soon as you think you have symptoms on nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119 if you do not have internet access. 
  • Your household must now also self-isolate.

For more information about Track and Trace, please visit What to do if you're contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service

Important Information about NHS Test and Trace

You will be contacted by email, text or phone.

Text messages will come from the NHS. Calls will come from 0300 0135000.

Children under 18 will be contacted by phone wherever possible and asked for their parent or guardian's permission to continue the call.

The NHS Test and Trace service will not:

  • ask for bank details or payments.
  • ask for details of any other accounts, such as social media.
  • •ask you to set up a password or PIN number over the phone.
  • ask you to call a premium rate number, such as those starting 09 or 087.
     
Shielding: what is it and who is it for?

Some people with specific underlying conditions are at risk of severe illness from coronavirus. They should have received a letter advising them to shield or have been told by their GP or hospital clinician.
 
The government has updated its guidance for people who are shielding because COVID-19 infection rates have decreased in recent weeks. 

People who are shielding remain vulnerable and should continue to take precautions but may now choose to leave their home, as long as they are able to maintain strict social distancing. 

For the latest detailed advice on shielding, including a list of those it applies to, is available on the gov.uk website.

Protecting yourself and the person you care for

This section is for anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who, due to a lifelong condition, illness, disability, serious injury, a mental health condition or has complex needs, cannot cope without their support.

Prepare

Create an emergency plan for the person you care for. This should include: 

  • the name, address and any other contact details of the person you care for
  • who you and the person you look after would like to be contacted in an emergency
  • details of any medication the person you look after is taking
  • details of any medical appointments they need to keep

Make sure your emergency plan is in a format that can readily be shared with other people.
 
You may be able to arrange help and support from family and friends, but it can be reassuring to have the involvement of the local authority or healthcare provider in case informal arrangements fall through. 

Local Support

It may be also be helpful to contact the Carer Support Team who can help with contingency planning:

Further Information

The government has published detailed advice about caring for someone, including what to do if you or the person you care for has symptoms.

I need some support

If you have received a letter advising that you should shield or self-isolate at home because you are clinically vulnerable and you require support, please email staysafebekind@wolverhampton.gov.uk or call 01902 290241.

If you are experiencing financial hardship and you need help, please view Financial support and guidance, email: wrs.covid19@wolverhampton.gov.uk or call 07966 292321.

If you are unwell, please call 111 or in the event of an emergency 999.

COVID-19 Mutual Aid

Mutual aid groups are collections of citizens who are offering help in response to the coronavirus outbreak. 

Groups providing support at a time of crisis are critical to keeping the city going, but please keep in mind that they are not commissioned by the Council and are managed individually by the groups themselves. 

If you (or a loved one) are a vulnerable person, please think carefully about the appropriateness of your ask from these groups. If you do have any concerns, please contact the Safeguarding Team.

Find out what you can do if you’re struggling because of coronavirus (COVID-19)

The government has produced a tool where you can find out what help you can get if you’re affected by coronavirus. 

You can find information about:

  • feeling unsafe
  • going in to work
  • paying bills or being unemployed
  • getting food
  • having somewhere to live
  • mental health and wellbeing

You will not get direct support from the government or organisations through this service: gov.uk/find-coronavirus-support

Helpful support numbers and websites

Age UK Wolverhampton
01902 572060


Age UK national advice line
0800 678 1602


Citizen’s Advice Wolverhampton
For general non urgent advice enquiries phone the adviceline: 0344 411 1444

For debt text: 07850 209529 with your name and they will call you back or Email debtadvice@wolverhamptoncitizensadvice.com

For urgent crisis text 07525 844112 and they will call you back.


Wolverhampton Carer Support Team
Call 01902 553409 or e-mail carer.support@wolverhampton.gov.uk


Wolverhampton COVID-19 Benefits Helpline
A new helpline ‘Benefits and Covid-19’ has been launched for people living in Wolverhampton who are worried about their Social Security benefit rights and entitlements following the Covid-19 outbreak. Email wrs.covid19@wolverhampton.gov.uk or call 07966 292321


Rethink
Rethink Emotional Support Helpline is a freephone service for those who are in need of support, reassurance and understanding.

The service can be contacted on 0808 802 2208 at the following times:

  • Monday- Friday 6.00pm – 3.00am
  • Saturday- Sunday 2.00pm – 3.00am

PHE have launched a new campaign to support people to manage their mental wellbeing during this difficult time, using Every Mind Matters self-care resources.


The Samaritans
If you need to talk to someone contact The Samaritans online, by telephone 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org. Emails will be replied to within 24 hours.


West Midlands Victim Support Team
If you’ve been affected by crime, call your local victim care team in the West Midlands on 0300 303 1977. Lines are open 8am-8pm Monday to Friday, and 9am-5pm on Saturday.


Bereavement
Unfortunately, some of us may lose someone through coronavirus. There are many organisations who can help.

Cruse Bereavement Care has online resources to support you and your family during this distressing time. This includes how this pandemic may affect bereavement and grief. They offer a free helpline: 0808 808 1677

West Midlands Police also offer some information. Please see 'Bereavement information for families' in the Downloads section.

Food Banks in Wolverhampton

Some food banks which usually only accept referrals are now allowing people to contact them direct because of COVID 19. To help them observe social distancing they would like people to phone or email rather than visit. Food banks can provide food directly in an emergency, although they cannot cater to personal taste.

See below for a list of food banks in Wolverhampton:

The Well

Referrals by phone through a recognised organisation (e.g. Social Services, Housing, Citizens Advice, Refugee & Migrant Centre and many others who provide advice & support across the city)

Referrals by phone Tuesday to Friday between 9.30 am and 12.30 pm. Parcels delivered between 1.00 pm and 4.00 pm.


Good Shepherd Ministry

  • Address: 65 Waterloo Road, Wolverhampton, WV1 4QU
  • Telephone: 01902 399955

Family food parcels provided on Tuesdays, 10.30 am – 11.30 am. Homeless food collection each day Monday to Friday, 12.00 pm – 2.00 pm. Office open 9:00 – 4:00pm.

Please note that dining services have been suspended


Adventist Food Bank

Referrals from agencies (email referrals are not accepted) and some self-referrals. Phone between 9.00 am and 3.00pm on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Deliveries are made on the same day as referral between 1.00 pm and 8.00 pm where possible but while there is high demand, some deliveries may take up to 24 hours from the referral.


Bilston People’s Centre

Food parcels delivered on Mondays and Thursdays. Service is for people who live in Bilston mainly but may be able to help with referrals from some surrounding areas. Referrals preferred from local agencies and recognised sources (e.g. local Councillor/MP, Wolverhampton Homes, WVSC) but people living in Bilston or members of the congregation of Excel Church can self-refer.


Elias Mattu Foundation

  • Telephone: 07904310530 / 07427173171

For the Elias Mattu Foundation Foodbank, their distributing days are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, 11.30am - 7.30pm.

Referrals can be made via social-prescribing, COVID-19 Mutual Support groups or via self-referral.


St Alban’s Ashmore Park

  • Address: Ashmore Park Pantry, St Alban's Church, Griffiths Drive, Ashmore Park, Wolverhampton, WV11 2LJ
  • Telephone: 01902 732317
  • Email: revtomfish@gmail.com
  • Facebook: @StAlbansAP

Local food bank focused on Ashmore Park and WV11 postcode area. Anyone short of food can come in person to collect what they need, or you can collect on behalf of someone else in need. Local deliveries by arrangement.

Open Wednesday 12-2pm, Friday 4-6pm, Sunday 12-2pm.

Support with shopping

If you need someone to do your shopping for you if you’re vulnerable or self-isolating and have enough money to pay for it and internet access, an online delivery or volunteer card might be helpful.

All the main supermarkets are now working to prioritise elderly and vulnerable people for home delivery slots. When it’s delivered your shopping will be left at a safe distance.

If you have friends, family members or even community volunteers who can do your shopping on your behalf you could use a Volunteer Card, which is a type of e-voucher. They are quite easy to set up online and mean you can purchase an e-voucher for a volunteer to do some shopping for you.

Using an e-voucher means you don’t have to give the volunteer or neighbour your bank details or hand over cash as they are sent to your shopper by email. They are also safe to use as they mean you don’t need to have any physical contact with the person helping you.

For details of the largest supermarkets offering priority measures for vulnerable customers, please view the document called ‘Supermarket Offer in Wolverhampton’ in the 'Download' section..

If you, or someone you know, is vulnerable or self-isolating and doesn’t have friends or family nearby to help with shopping, NHS Volunteer Responders are available to help. Call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm) to register and arrange volunteer help.

Keeping yourself safe at home

Times like these can bring out the best and worst in people. While some will be looking out for vulnerable relatives and friends, we also know a small minority will be looking to profit from the worry and concerns caused by coronavirus.

  • Choose a neighbour you trust to keep in touch with by phone, they can help make sure volunteers and helpers are safe.
  • Don't feel pressured to let someone into your home.
  • If someone offers to do your shopping for you don't give them your bank card or PIN number or large amounts of cash.
  • Take the time to think about any offer, even if it's genuine.
  • Don't be embarrassed to say 'No' to people or ask them to leave.
  • Be mindful of clicking on links in emails or messages or paying for items online from companies you have not researched.
  • If you suspect door-step and online scammers call 101, or 999 if you feel threatened or in danger.
What to do if you are worried about domestic violence

We know that if you are experiencing domestic abuse you may find following government advice difficult, particularly if it means spending more time with your abuser. However, you do not need to stay home if you are at risk of abuse or violence.

If you are worried about domestic abuse, you are not alone, please contact the Haven Wolverhampton for advice and support:

The Haven 

If you are a male victim of domestic abuse you can contact St Georges Hub on 01902 421904.

In an emergency always dial 999.

You can also find more advice and guidance on staying safe whilst self-isolating in this Haven guide, this Safe Lives guide or on The Haven Wolverhampton Twitter page.

For more information about coronavirus and economic abuse, please view Economic abuse and the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

For more information view the West Midlands response to domestic abuse and the #NoExcuseForAbuse campaign.

What to do if you're worried about hate crime

Hate crimes and incidents come in many different forms. It can be because of hatred on the grounds of your:

  • race
  • religion
  • sexual orientation
  • transgender identity
  • disability

It doesn’t always include physical violence. Someone using offensive language towards you, damaging your property or harassing you because of who you are, or who they think you are, is also a crime. The same goes for someone posting abusive or offensive messages about you online.

If you do not feel safe in your home or community due to hate crime, please seek support.

The following organisations are here to help:

  • Contact WMP via Live Chat or report via 111 alternatively, you can report this online to True Vision.
  • Victim Support have a dedicated hate crime team who can be contacted on 01902 795830 (8:30am-4:30pm Mon-Fri) or email Hatecrime.Westmidlands@victimsupport.org.uk
  • In an emergency always dial 999.
  • For more information about hate crime and the help and support available in Wolverhampton please visit Stop Hate

 

Fire safety

With more people staying at home it is more important than ever that people are taking appropriate steps to prevent fires.

Detailed fire safety advice has been provided by West Midlands Fire Service to advise individuals and businesses how they can keep their homes and premises safe. The advice can be found here.

Be Kind logo

Be Kind

This section tells you all about how to look after yourself and others during COVID-19, also known about coronavirus. Here you will find information about volunteering, taking care of your mental health and wellbeing and looking after your physical health.

Looking after your mental health and wellbeing

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic life is changing for all of us for a while. When lots of things change at once it’s easy for us to feel overwhelmed. The information in this section is to help support your mental health and wellbeing, and provides links to resources and contact numbers for those who can help you when you need support.

Are you experiencing mental distress and need urgent support?

Having a mental health crisis can mean different things to different people but generally means when someone’s health worsens to the point they need urgent help from professional services.

A crisis can include:

  • thinking about suicide or acting on suicidal thoughts
  • thinking about harming yourself
  • having an episode of psychosis (where you might experience or believe things that others do not), or
  • doing something that could put yourself or other people at risk

The people closest to an individual may notice when they may be in a crisis and should support them to seek immediate expert advice and assessment.

It's important to know that support is available, even if services seem busy at the moment because of the coronavirus outbreak. Please do not suffer in silence

If you or someone you care for is experiencing a mental health crisis there is support available to you when you need it from the following sources:

Black Country Healthcare new 24-7 mental health support line

A new mental health support line is available for Black Country residents of all ages. Call 0345 646 0827

  • press 1 if you live in Wolverhampton or Sandwell
  • press 2 if you live in Dudley or Walsall

The Samaritans

If you need to talk to someone contact The Samaritans online, by telephone 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org. Emails will be replied to within 24 hours.

If you are having a difficult time or if you are worried about someone else, The Samaritans are there to listen.

Rethink

Rethink Emotional Support Helpline is a freephone service for those who are in need of support, reassurance and understanding. The service can be contacted on 0808 802 2208 at the following times:

  • Monday- Friday 6.00pm – 3.00am
  • Saturday- Sunday 2.00pm – 3.00am

For more information visit the Rethink website.

Are you concerned about your mental wellbeing?

Are you feeling low? Are you feeling down and struggling to lift your mood? Perhaps you are worried about things and struggling to find solutions to problems, and not able to think about anything else other than these problems.

There is support available to help you through the Wolverhampton Healthy Minds Service.

If you are experiencing stress, feelings of anxiety or low mood, you can use the NHS page on mental health and wellbeing for self-assessment, audio guides and practical tools.

Every Mind Matters also provides simple tips and advice to start taking better care of your mental health.

The Easy Read Guidance gives advice on looking after your mental health and wellbeing.

View links below for more information:

Bereavement

Unfortunately, some of us may lose someone through coronavirus. There are many organisations who can help.

Cruse Bereavement Care has online resources to support you and your family during this distressing time. This includes how this pandemic may affect bereavement and grief. They offer a free helpline: 0808 808 1677

West Midlands Police also offer some information on bereavement information for families.

Useful Links

CALM

CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for people in the UK who are feeling down or feel as if they ‘have hit a wall’ for any reason.

Papyrus

If you are a young person, or if you know a young person who is not coping with life, For confidential suicide prevention advice contact Papyrus on 0800 068 4141, email pat@papyrus-uk.org or visit papyrus-uk.org

Liberate

Liberate has partnered with the NHS to offer you a free subscription until December 2020 to the #1 meditation app for POC/BAME communities.

Liberate Meditation offers culturally sensitive and diverse meditations and talks that have been curated for the BAME community. The app aims to help reduce anxiety, alleviate stress and promote rest.

For more information, please visit NHS - Liberate Meditation.

Are you feeling lonely?

We may all be feeling more isolated at present due to the changes in daily life due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Some older people and those with underlying health conditions may be feeling lonely due to limited contact with others. Younger people who may be feeling lonely because they are not meeting up with friends or teachers and feeling anxious about what the future may hold.

Loneliness can have a significant effect on both our mental and physical health. It can be hard to admit we are lonely and need help, but we should encourage anyone feeling this way to contact someone who can understand and offer support

If you are worried about someone who is lonely, you can help by phoning them, smiling, waving or chatting from a safe distance, helping out through volunteering by picking up food or medicine, or by offering regular conversation to someone living alone.

If you would like to speak to someone about your feelings of loneliness, or if you are worried about someone who is lonely there is support available to you:

  • Wolverhampton Community Support Team on 01902 553445
  • Wolverhampton Carer Support Team on 01902 553409
  • Wolverhampton’s Social Prescribing Service on 07366 701877
  • Compassionate Communities Befriending Helpline on 01902 774570 · Samaritans free call on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org
  • Silverline, for people aged 55 and over, call 0800 4 70 80 90
Taking care of your mental health and wellbeing

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic life is changing for all of us for a while. When lots of things change at once it’s easy for us to feel overwhelmed.

The tips and advice here are things you can do now to help you keep on top of your mental wellbeing and cope with how you may feel while staying at home or social distancing.

Connect with others
Connect with others logo

Connecting with others, including friends and family is important for your health and wellbeing.

As we are spending less time with others in person, there’s no reason not to stay in touch with friends and family via telephone, video calls or social media – whether it’s people you see often or connecting with old friends.

Maintaining social relationships with people you trust is important for your wellbeing. Connect with people around you either in person, virtually or by sending them a letter. Building connections with others will support your own wellbeing and also let others know that you are thinking of them.

Think about how you can stay in touch with friends and family via telephone, video calls or social media instead if you can’t meet them in person. – whether it’s people you see often or connecting with old friends. Receiving a letter, phone call or a text message can give someone a real boost and lets them know someone is thinking about them.

Individuals who live alone or are shielding are likely to experience feelings of loneliness at this time, so it’s really important for us to reach out to these individuals.

Useful links

Guidance from the Mental Health Foundation on connecting with others


Five Ways to Wellbeing artwork courtesy of the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.

Be active
Be active logo

Regular physical activity is linked with feeling good and functioning well.

Being active is great for your physical and mental wellbeing so try to build some physical activity into your daily routine. Aim to be physically active every day - any form of physical activity is better than none at all. It is recommended that you do at least 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity a week, that’s around 20-30 minutes a day.

You can stay active in your home, even when you are self-isolating or shielding. Physical activity does not need to be intense, light activity can make a difference too. This can be simple tasks and there are options for most ages and abilities such as:

  • Cleaning your home
  • Gardening
  • Dancing to music
  • Walking up and down the stairs more often
  • Seated exercises (see links below)
  • Virtual exercise classes (see links below)
  • Sitting less. If you’re working from home, you may find yourself seated for long periods of time. Take a short walk round the house if you find yourself sitting for longer than an hour. Or go for a walk during your lunch break or after work if you are able to.

If you can and able to, once a day get outside. Spending time in green spaces can improve your health and wellbeing.

Useful links


Five Ways to Wellbeing artwork courtesy of the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.

Take notice of whats going on
Take notice of whats going on logo

Taking notice and being aware is important as it’s linked with good health and wellbeing. Pay attention to how your family or friends might be feeling. Some people will be more anxious about the outbreak and you might need to reassure them.

Pause and reflect on how life has changed for you, your family and friends in recent weeks. Reflect on your experiences of the pandemic and how this has led us all to a new way of living.

COVID-19 has affected us all differently. This has been a difficult time for everyone and sharing how you are feeling and the things you are doing to cope with family and friends can help them too.

If you don’t feel able to do that, there are people you can speak to via NHS recommended helplines.

Savour the moment and take time to reflect on your experiences as this will make you appreciate things in life. Take time to relax and focus on the present. This can help with difficult emotions, worries about the future, and can improve wellbeing. Relaxation techniques can help some people remain calm and deal with feelings of anxiety. For useful resources see Every Mind Matters and NHS’ mindfulness page (link below)

Useful links


Five Ways to Wellbeing artwork courtesy of the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.

Keep learning
Keep learning logo

Use the time you are spending at home to learn something new. This can enhance self-esteem and makes us feel good within ourselves. Try something new or resdiscover an old interest that you didn’t have time to do before i.e reading a book or learning how to use a laptop.

You might find it helpful to write a plan for your day or your week. This will provide some structure to days spent at home.

Why not:

  • Keep your brain occupied by reading, writing or doing quizzes
  • Listen to a chatty radio station or podcasts
  • Look up some new recipes to create healthy dishes;
  • Sign up online for tutorials and online courses, many of which are free, that might be of interest

If you are a parent be a role model for your children whilst you are all at home and show them that it's important that we all keep learning.

Useful links


Five Ways to Wellbeing artwork courtesy of the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.

Give some time to support others
Give some time to support others logo

Remind us to be kinder to those around us. We tend to feel better when we give to others and this is needed now more than ever before. It could be as simple as giving someone a smile or thanking them.

Do something nice and spend time on others such as keeping an eye on elderly neighbours or relatives and think about how you could help them if needed – it could make a big difference to them and can make you feel better too.

Offer support as some people, either due to their age or health complications are at greater risk of complications if they are affected by Coronavirus. If they do become unwell and are required to self-isolate, they may need someone to collect their medication or groceries. Make sure that they have your contact number so they can call you if they need your help.

You can also give by volunteering your time.

Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council are collecting information about potential volunteers and matching their skills to those that need it. They will help to make sure that both those who are volunteering and those who receive support are kept safe. If you would like to volunteer, please complete the form below


Five Ways to Wellbeing artwork courtesy of the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.

Support for your mental health…..now in an App

A new app loaded with the latest resources relating to looking after your mental health and wellbeing during the Coronavirus outbreak has recently been launched.

This app is available free of charge and is regularly updated with news from the NHS and City of Wolverhampton Council and includes links to helpful guidance from organisations like MIND and the NHS Every Mind Matters campaign.

There is also a directory of helpful phone numbers for anyone who needs support for their mental health during these uncertain times.

Instructions for downloading the app

  1. Go to your Play Store/ App Store and search for and install the HealthZone UK App
  2. Once the app is loaded search under the listings for Black Country and West Birmingham COVID-19 Mental Health (Partners) App
  3. Click, and get started
Do you have worries about money?

You may be worried about work and money if you have to stay home or if there us uncertainty about your job– these issues can have a big impact on your mental health and wellbeing

For guidance on what your rights are at work, what benefits you are entitled and what further support is available please see our guidance for employees or advice from citizens advice or the National Debt line.

A new helpline ‘Benefits and Covid-19’ has been launched by the Council for people living in Wolverhampton who are worried about their Social Security benefit rights and entitlements following the Covid-19 outbreak.

The helpline which is run by the Council’s Welfare Rights Service can be accessed at:

If you are worried about your finances, there is support available from the Wolverhampton Citizens Advice Bureau:

For DEBT

For urgent CRISIS

Are you worried about housing?

If you are having problems paying your rent or mortgage or have any concerns about your housing, please click on the relevant section below for advice:

What else you can do to look after your mental health and wellbeing?

Look after your sleep

Feeling anxious or worried can make it harder to get a good night’s sleep. Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how you feel mentally and physically, so it’s important to get enough.

Try to maintain regular sleeping patterns and keep good sleep hygiene practices – like avoiding screens before bed, cutting back on caffeine and creating a restful environment. The Every Mind Matters sleep page provides practical advice on how to improve your sleep.

Ensure you enough food, toiletries and other essential supplies

Think about how you can get any supplies you need before you start to run out. If you are social distancing, you can go to the shops and buy any essential items. Remember to maintain a distance of two metres from others at all times. Make a list before you go and keep your shopping trips to a minimum.

Try to pick healthy food, especially as you might not get as much exercise as normal. If you are self-isolating the best option is to ask a trusted friend, neighbour or relative to do your shopping for you. They can drop this off outside your door so that you can avoid face-to-face contact.

Support your family

If you are a parent, then make sure you keep an eye on your children’s' emotional mental health and wellbeing. School closures have come as an abrupt halt to their daily routine and they are likely to be missing their friends. Whilst dealing with the changes to family life at this time it will be helpful to create a new routine for children and to reassure them that the changes have been necessary to keep everyone safe.

Useful guidance can be found on gov.uk.

Watch your alcohol intake

This is a stressful time for lots of us and in times of stress we can find ourselves drinking more often or more heavily.

On top of that, many of our routines will have changed, which might make it hard to keep on top of how much we’re drinking. Here are some ways to help you look after your mental health while keeping a happy, healthy relationship with alcohol.

Coronavirus and those affected by Dementia

People with dementia are likely to have other health conditions, making them particularly vulnerable to develop severe symptoms and complications if affected

by Coronavirus. People with dementia are prone to developing delirium (a state of confusion) if they develop an infection. They may also not be able to communicate if they are experiencing any symptoms due to communication difficulties and may not be able to follow instructions on hand washing or social distancing.

There are several resources specifically for supporting people caring for those with dementia during the outbreak:

Dementia Connect: Alzheimer's Society's new personalised support service provided access to advice online

If you have any concerns about caring for someone with dementia through the coronavirus outbreak, you can contact the Admiral Nurses Helpline on 0800 888 6678 or email helpline@dementiauk.org.

Useful Links

dementiauk.org

Eating well

There are no foods or supplements that can prevent or treat COVID-19. Nevertheless, eating a well-balanced diet, with plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, proteins and healthy fats is the best way to get all the essential nutrients you need for good health and normal immune function.

If you aren't able to eat as much fresh fruit and vegetables as normal due to self-isolation, don't panic; canned, dried or frozen fruit and vegetables, as well as fruit juice or smoothies (but do not have more than 1 portion a day as these drinks are sugary and can damage teeth) also count towards your 5-a-day.

As you may be less active during self-isolation, it is also important to pay close attention to food portions to keep our energy balance adjusted to meet your needs. During long periods of stress, you may find you are eating more than you need. Additionally, staying at home for longer periods can lead to snacking out of boredom. Maintaining a daily routine can help manage some of this stress. One way to do this is by sticking to regular mealtimes and planning meals in advance.

This can help better control hunger levels, meet nutrient requirements and allow you to get the most out of the food available to you, reducing food waste. If you do find yourself needing a snack, opt for healthier options like fruit, nuts or yoghurt as these foods are nutritious and more filling.

Useful Links

Staying hydrated

Good hydration is important for all age groups and is something for everyone to consider.

The NHS Eatwell Guide says we should drink 6 to 8 glasses of fluid a day. Water, lower fat milk and sugar-free drinks, including tea and coffee, all count. Water is a healthy and cheap choice for quenching your thirst at any time. It has no calories and contains no sugars that can damage teeth.

Tips for staying Hydrated:

  • Try to keep a bottle or glass of water on your desk, or by your side, throughout the day.
  • If you do not like the taste of plain water, try adding a slice of lemon or lime. Or heat the water and infuse a tea bag. You could also add some no-added-sugar squash or fruit juice for flavour.
  • If you are caring for someone, you may need to prompt, encourage or assist to drink. Offering a preferred cup or glass may help.

Useful Links

Smoking

The best thing a smoker can do is to quit, to protect themselves and others, and reduce the impact on NHS services.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory infection, it affects the lungs and airways. Smoking damages your lungs and weakens your immune system. This makes it more likely that you will have complications if you get sick and that it will take you longer to recover.

Smokers are also much more likely to get other health problems at a time when the NHS is under strain from COVID-19.

Why not decide that ‘today is the day’, there’s lots of helpful resources and support available to aid your quit attempt. If you’re not ready to quit just yet, you can also find out more information on protecting others from second hand smoke.

Why not join the conversation, and share your story of quitting, or hear from other people how they are getting on with their quit attempts by following #QuitforCovid

Useful Links

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