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
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 7 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 7 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 7 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

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)

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. Individual take-outs available on 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 only (email referrals are not accepted). 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. There is a limit of 3 parcels in a 6-month period for a single person, couple or family.


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) but people living in Bilston can self-refer.

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.

Taking care of my mental health

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.

Public Health England has launched a new campaign focusing on simple tips and expert advice about looking after your health whilst staying at home:

Whether you are staying at home or social distancing, you are likely to see some disruption to your normal routine.

If you are at home you may feel bored, frustrated or lonely. You may also be low, worried or anxious, or concerned about your finances, your health or those close to you. It's important to remember that it is OK to feel this way and that everyone reacts differently. Try to remember, this situation is temporary and, for most of us, these difficult feelings will pass.

Staying at home may be difficult, but please remember that you are helping to protect yourself and others by doing it. This information includes practical tips to look after our mental wellbeing to help keep us all feeling good and functioning well whilst staying at home. 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

Connecting with your friends and family is important for your mental wellbeing.

Think about how you can stay in touch with friends and family via telephone, video calls or social media instead of meeting in person – whether it’s people you normally see often or connecting with old friends.

People will appreciate a phone call or a text message or email to see how they are, particularly if they live alone. Calling a friend to see how they’re doing can boost both your wellbeing and theirs.

Use these conversations as an opportunity to remind people how they can look after themselves and others at this time.

Remind people to

  • stay at home and only leave the house if they absolutely need to
  • Maintain social distancing inside and outside the home
  • wash their hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds and always after sneezing, handling food or using public transport
  • cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough or sneeze and put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash their hands afterwards

Make sure you have the right numbers and email addresses of the people you care about as more people will be self-isolating.

Useful Links:

Keep your mind and body active

Our physical health has a big impact on how we feel. At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour such as getting up late and not getting any exercise that end up making you feel worse.

If you are working from home, ensure you keep to the routine of starting work and finishing work at your usual times and take a lunch break as you usually would.

Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and exercise inside where possible and outside once a day, and try to avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs.

Being active is great for your physical and mental wellbeing so try to build some physical activity into your daily routine. It is recommended that we all get at least two and a half hours of moderate physical activity a week, that is around 20 to 30 minutes a day.

If you can, once a day get outside. Spending time in green spaces can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. If you can’t get outside much you can try to still get these positive effects by spending time with the windows open to let in fresh air or get out into the garden if you can.

Remember that social distancing guidelines enable you to go outside to exercise once a day as long as you keep 2 metres apart from others who are not members of your household group.

Useful Links

Take Notice of what's around you

Take notice and 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.

Being concerned about the news is understandable but for many people it can cause distress and anxiety.

Remember that this is 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

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.

Take time to relax and focus on the present. This can help with difficult emotions, worries about the future, and can improve wellbeing

Limit the time you spend watching news coverage or reading about the outbreak especially if this is making you worried.

Decide on a specific time to check in with the news. Stick to trusted sources of information such as nhs.uk

It is okay to acknowledge some things that are outside of your control right now but constant repetitive thoughts about the situation which lead you to feel anxious or overwhelmed are not helpful. The Every Mind Matters page on anxiety and NHS mental wellbeing audio guides provide further information on how to manage anxiety.

Useful links

  • The Active Coping Calendar is a useful from Action for Happiness is a helpful resource on how individuals can pledge a positive action every day.
  • Action for Happiness has created a calendar for June 2020 with an activity for each day to help us all become more mindful and look out for each other' 

Keep learning something new

Use the time you are spending at home to learn something new. Perhaps think of an interest or hobby that you usually don't have the time to pursue due to your regular schedule and commitments - now might be a good time to get into something. Drawing, painting, creative writing or learning a new language…...there are lots of possibilities!

You might find it helpful to write a plan for your day or your week. This will help you give some structure to days spent at home. Include time for something you enjoy as well as work, exercise and keeping in touch with friends and family.

Why not:

  • Keep your brain occupied and challenged by reading books, magazines, doing puzzles
  • Listen to a chatty radio station or podcasts, watch films and do puzzles.
  • Look up some new recipes to create healthy dishes; it's important that you are eating balanced meals at regular times. Perhaps come up with a meal plan as you should be food shopping as least often as possible

There are lots of free tutorials and online courses that might be of interest. Building in some time for learning will enable your day has some routine.

If you're 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

  • The NHS One You site has advice on healthy recipes
  • To see Wolverhampton Adult Education’s latest courses view them online or call 01902 551658
Give some time to support others

Keep 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.

Older people with long term health conditions 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.

If you are able to commit some time to support vulnerable people in the City, there are opportunities for you to volunteer.

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 online form.

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/

What else you can do to avoid becoming stressed or anxious during this time

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.

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.

Deal with any money worries

You may be worried about work and money if you have to stay home – these issues can have a big impact on your mental health. 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:

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
Loneliness Awareness Week

This week (15th – 22nd June) is Loneliness Awareness Week and the City of Wolverhampton Council is backing this year’s campaign organised by the Marmalade Trust.

Loneliness can affect anyone, regardless of age, circumstances and background, and can hit at any time. People may have been particularly aware of loneliness during the current coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

This year’s Loneliness Awareness Week campaign aims to empower everyone to understand loneliness one conversation at a time, so that people can help themselves and others to manage feelings of loneliness.

Due to the coronavirus emergency, instead of face-to-face events, the Marmalade Trust is hosting a virtual campaign called One Less Lonely Voice and is inviting people to join the conversation using the hashtag #LetsTalkLoneliness.

The campaign website offers a range of advice to tackle loneliness, such as ways to reach out to someone who might be feeling lonely, how to volunteer safely, joining an online group, and signposting to sources of support.

Useful resources to help you at this time

Look after your mental health during the outbreak

Public Health England have published advice on taking care of our mental wellbeing to help keep us all feeling good and functioning well.

This guidance is also available in Easy Read Format

The 4 Mental Health website is a new resource to help you find ways to feel a bit calmer during these challenging times and has some suggestions for things you can do to help you cope.

Every Mind Matters provides advice to start taking better care of your mental health, including 10 simple things people can do to deal with anxiety about the coronavirus outbreak.

Do you need to talk to someone?

The Samaritans
If you are need to talk to someone about what's on your mind contact The Samaritans online and on by telephone 116 123. They can also be emailed at jo@samaritans.org.

Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
If you are worried and need to talk to someone, the Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has launched a helpline for adults, teenagers and children of all ages during the current crisis.

Please don't suffer in silence. If you are experiencing increased distress or anxiety during these uncertain times, pick up the phone and speak to one of their specialist mental health professionals who will be able to support you.

The helpline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Telephone: 0345 6460827

If you are already accessing support for a mental health problem

If you already have a mental health problem, then you may be finding the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak particularly challenging. The advice above should help, but here are a few extra things that you may want to think about.

MIND have issued a set of comprehensive guidance

Rethink Mental Illness have a dedicated area of support which provides self-help guidance and advice for carers of those with mental health issues currently accessing specialist mental health services.


Translated Social Media Post every mind matters ‘top 10 tips’ translated Polish, Russian, Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati, Romanian, Roma and Somali. 

Looking after my health

If you haven’t been physically active in the past, this could be a great opportunity to start. If you usually go to the gym or love to swim, don’t stop being active just because they are closed!

Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness, it’s also great for your mental wellbeing. We should all aim to build physical activity into our daily routine where possible. Most of us don’t have exercise equipment like treadmills where we live, but there are still activities you can do. If you are not self-isolating, and you don’t fall into one of the high-risk groups, you are currently allowed to go outside once a day for a run or walk. Remember to follow appropriate isolation and distancing restrictions and stay at least 2 Metres away from anyone outside your household.

You can also stay active in your home, even when self-isolating; 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 stairs more often
  • Seated exercises (see links below)
  • Virtual exercise classes (see links below
  • Sitting less (Particularly if you’re working from home, you may find yourself seated for long periods of time. Try taking short walk round the house if you find yourself sitting for longer than an hour.

Getting older doesn’t mean you can’t or don’t need to exercise. Whilst many older people are being advised to self-isolate, it’s never been more important to stay healthy. You should always follow your GP’s advice if you have an existing health condition, but often you can still move more or do some gentle exercise.

Useful Links

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.

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 but remember to maintain a distance of two metres from others at all times and follow any instructions given to you by staff. Make a list before you go and keep your shopping trips to a minimum. 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.

Useful Links

For more information on eating well please visit: nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/

If you have a medical condition which makes you extremely vulnerable to coronavirus please visit gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable

If your child usually receives free school meals, please contact their school for further information. A list of schools in Wolverhampton can be found here Schools List

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

For more information please visit nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/water-drinks-nutrition/

Sleeping

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.

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

Feeling unwell for reasons other than coronavirus

Many people will still be experiencing other medical problems during coronavirus. It is very important that you still get the help that you need. Even though health care services are busier than usual, you will still get the care that you need. Do not suffer in silence.

If you are having a medical emergency call 999. Call 999 if you or someone else has any of the following:

  • signs of a heart attack - pain like a very tight band, heavy weight or squeezing in the centre of your chest
  • signs of a stroke - face drooping on one side, can’t hold both arms up, difficulty speaking
  • severe difficulty breathing - gasping, not being able to get words out, choking or lips turning blue
  • heavy bleeding - that won’t stop
  • severe injuries - or deep cuts after a serious accident
  • seizure (fit) - someone is shaking or jerking because of a fit, or is unconscious (can’t be woken up)
  • sudden, rapid swelling - of the eyes, lips, mouth, throat or tongue

To check your symptoms, you can also use the NHS 111 symptom checker

For information about visiting your GP, please view the section below.

Information on GPs, Pharmacies and Dentists

Getting Medicines

Many pharmacies are currently still open and repeat prescriptions should be available as usual.

If you have repeat prescriptions and are self-isolating, ask a trusted friend, neighbour or relative to pick up your medicines for you. They can drop them off outside your door so that you can avoid face-to-face contact. And if you are collecting medication on behalf of a vulnerable person, please check with the pharmacy that it is ready to collect before visiting.

Remember, if you have symptoms of coronavirus - a new continuous cough or a high temperature - please do not visit the pharmacy. Instead, stay home and follow NHS advice on self-isolation.

Lots of pharmacies or pharmacy services offer a home delivery service. This means that you can get your medication delivered right to your door. Again, ask for the delivery to be left outside if you are isolating. However, do be aware that some pharmacies which previously delivered are now simply too busy to offer this service. That means you may need to make alternative arrangements if you can't collect your prescription, such as asking a neighbour to collect it.

Currently there are no medicine shortages as a result of COVID-19 or coronavirus. Individuals are being urged not to stockpile medications. Whilst there are currently no issues getting hold of medications, if everyone tries to get more medication than they currently need it will put strain on the system. Practices have been advised not to issue repeat prescriptions sooner than they're due, and not to issue more than usual. Please do not contact your pharmacy or GP surgery to order your regular medication before it is due. You should order it when you have seven to 10 days of medication left.


Seeing your GP

Do not attend your GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital if you think you might have coronavirus.

At this stage, we should all be aiming to distance ourselves from other people as much as possible. But many people still require medications or need to get medical support for something other than COVID-19. It's still important to get medical help if you need it but try to avoid getting face-to-face help if you can. You can still get medical help, advice and prescriptions online or over the phone.

If you have a GP appointment booked, keep an eye out for communications from your surgery. Many surgeries have closed for face-to-face appointments and are switching to digital or telephone appointments. This is to minimise the risk to vulnerable patients and clinicians if people carrying the virus go to the practice. Practices will largely prioritise those with urgent or serious health concerns, meaning that people with routine or minor concerns may have to wait longer for appointments.

You will only be asked to visit the surgery for an appointment if absolutely necessary, but if you are, make sure to follow any instructions given to you by staff at the practice. You should continue to take precautionary measures against coronavirus whilst in the practice, as you would in any public setting.

This includes:

  • Using hand sanitiser and frequently washing your hands.
  • Avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • Maintaining social distancing (making sure that there is at least a metre or two between you and another person).

And please be as patient with staff - they are doing their best at a very difficult time.

Watch this video to find out more about contacting your GP remotely.


Dental Hygiene

All routine dental treatment has been stopped at the moment.

If you think you need urgent dental treatment, do not go to a dentist. Instead:

  • call your dentist
  • use the NHS 111 online service if you cannot contact your dentist or you do not have one

They can give you advice, help you contact an urgent dental service or arrange treatment if needed.

Do not contact a GP. They cannot provide dental treatment.


Useful Links

Please visit nhs.uk for trusted information and advice on health conditions, symptoms, healthy living, medicines and how to get help.

Are you experiencing a mental health crisis?

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.

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 our 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

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

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.


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


Wolverhampton Healthy Minds

Wolverhampton Healthy Minds offers psychological therapy services for people experiencing common mental health problems such as low mood, depression, anxiety and stress. If you are 16 or over, live in Wolverhampton or are registered with a Wolverhampton GP you can access this service. You can phone the service on 0800 923 0222 or 01902 441 856, 9am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday (except Bank Holidays) or visit wolverhamptonhealthyminds.nhs.uk


Useful links for online advice

Follow these links for advice and guidance on managing a mental health crisis:

NHS advice on dealing with a mental health crisis or emergency

Every Mind Matters- advice on where to access urgent support

I Want to Volunteer

This page provides information on local volunteering opportunities.

Volunteer with Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council

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 online form.

Who can Volunteer?

Anyone can volunteer but you can only provide support in person if you fulfil ALL of the conditions below:

  • You are well and have no symptoms like a cough or high temperature and nobody in your household does
  • You are under 70
  • You are not pregnant
  • You do not have any long-term health conditions that make you vulnerable to coronavirus.

If you do not fulfil these criteria, you can still provide remote support, for example, making telephone calls.

The government has produced guidance about how to volunteer and help safely.

Also available in Easy read guidance

Make the most of local online resources

Keep up to date, share information and be a positive part of your local community conversations. The website Nextdoor aims to bring neighbours closer together and encourage online social interaction within local communities.

For the latest Wolverhampton news and information, please visit:

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