How to help yourself and others during COVID-19
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How to stop the spread

Stay at home to stop coronavirus spreading

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus. This is part of ‘social distancing’ which means staying away from other people.

This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.

You can only leave your home:

  • to shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary

When leaving the house, you should ensure you are always two metres (three steps) apart from anyone, other than members of your own household. If you are a 'critical worker', or your child has been identified as vulnerable, you can continue to take your children to school.

As well as staying at home there are important things you should do to stop the spread:

  1. 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 
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands 
  3. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow, then throw the tissue in a bin and wash your hands 
  4. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home
  5. Always stay at least 2m (3 steps) away from other people

All non-essential shops and public spaces have been closed, and all public gatherings have been stopped. Funerals can continue but can only be attended by immediate family members.

Please view the new stay at home measures for full guidance.

What to do if you are vulnerable 

Everyone needs to stay at home but some people are at higher risk than others. 

If you're at high risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus, there are extra things you should do to avoid catching it.

These include:

  • not leaving your home – you should not go out to do shopping, visit friends or family, or attend any gatherings
  • avoiding close contact with other people in your home as much as possible

You will need to stay at home for at least 12 weeks. Read the full advice on protecting yourself if you're at high risk from coronavirus on GOV.UK.

Who is at high risk?

You may be at high risk from coronavirus if you:

  • have had an organ transplant
  • are having certain types of cancer treatment
  • have blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia
  • have a severe lung condition, such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma
  • have a condition that makes you much more likely to get infections
  • are taking medicine that weakens your immune system
  • are pregnant and have a serious heart condition

This high-risk group does not include the elderly, but if you are over 70 or have another medical condition such as diabetes or COPD, you are strongly advised to follow strict social distancing and stay at home. 

For more information on guidance for shielding people at very high risk of severe illness from COVID-19, please view guidance on shielding and protecting extremely vulnerable persons from covid 19 

If you have asthma and would like to find out more information, please visit asthma.org.uk

If you feel unwell

What to do if you feel unwell

If you develop any symptoms of this virus – which include a new continuous cough and/ or a high temperature:

  • You must self-isolate. This means you must not leave your house for any reason or go near other people for 7 days
  • If you live with other people, they should self-isolate for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms
  • Please do not go to your GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital

Only call NHS 111 if:

  • If you are feeling unwell and unable to manage at home
  • Your condition gets worse
  • Your condition does not get better after 7 days

In case of a medical emergency call 999 

Prepare for staying at home

We all need to make changes to be able to stay at home:

  • Talk to your neighbours and family to make sure you have their telephone numbers
  • Set up online shopping accounts if possible
  • Decide who can help you if you need support, such as a neighbour leaving shopping at your door
  • If you are over 70 or have a health condition you are more vulnerable and can get access to extra support so that you can stay at home.
Guidance in different formats and languages

The national charity Mencap has produced an easy read version of the latest guidance 

The Deaf health charity SignHealth has produced videos of the latest government guidelines in British Sign Language.

Guidance in different languages can be found at gov.uk

Advice about social distancing and for vulnerable people is available in easy read formats and different languages here: COVID 19 guidance on social distancing and for vulnerable people

Advice about self-isolation if your household has possible coronavirus infection is available in easy read formats and different languages here: COVID 19 stay at home guidance

Advice about shielding if you are defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable is available in easy read formats and different languages here: Guidance on shielding and protecting extremely vulnerable persons from covid 19

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.
Looking after your 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 published advice on taking care of our mental wellbeing to help keep us all feeling good and functioning well. 
 
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.  
 
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.
 
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 resource from Action for Happiness

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:

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.
 
The NHS are appointing Volunteer Responders to help vulnerable people during the outbreak.
If you wish to register as a volunteer for the NHS:

  • Register on NHS Volunteer Responders:
    • Complete your details and identify which volunteer roles you are interested in.
    • Once your registration and checks are complete you will be emailed a verification code and log-in details.
    • Download the GoodSAM Responders app and log in.
    • Switch on the app when you’re available for volunteering jobs.

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.

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 link:

Guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young peoples mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus covid 19 outbreak


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.

Useful link:

Coronavirus top tips on alcohol and mental health


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:

Opening hours:
Monday to Friday 10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm.
 

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?

If you are need to talk to someone about what's on your mind contact The Samaritans online, by telephone 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org


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 at which provides self-help guidance and advice for carers of those with mental health issues currently accessing specialist mental health services.
 

Connect and reach out to your neighbours

Staying connected to others is very important. 

Share phone numbers with neighbours and people in the area who you trust. 

You could even create a WhatsApp group with people in your neighbourhood you know to share key information and to check if anyone needs any help with accessing food or medication. If online communication isn't possible, never underestimate the value of a regular simple phone call to offer social contact and support. Arrange regular times to check in with friends, family or neighbours over the phone or using video calls

If you are over 70 and you do not have someone to talk to, Age UK Wolverhampton offer a telephone befriending service for people who may be lonely and isolated, please call 01902 572060

Looking after your physical health

Build physical activity into your daily routine, if possible. Most of us don’t have exercise equipment like treadmills where we live, but there are still activities you can do. Exercising at home can be simple and there are options for most ages and abilities, such as:

  • Gentle seated-weightlifting exercises using a tin of beans
  • Dancing to your favourite music
  • Stretching exercises, yoga or Pilates. 

For more seated exercises, please visit nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/sitting-exercises/

WV Active also has a number of activities online for all ages and abilities.

Sport England also has several tips for staying active at home
 

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:

Supporting vulnerable or isolated people

People in every community will face the challenges of COVID-19, from needing basic provisions to help while they are feeling unwell. There are things you could do to help, such as volunteering at support services and donating to foodbanks.

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.

Share accurate information and advice

Support anyone who may be anxious about COVID-19. Signpost them to the correct advice from the NHS and Public Health England and encourage people to follow the correct hygiene practices. 

To prevent the spread of misinformation, don’t share posts from unverified sources and guide people to the most up-to-date and accurate information from NHS and government websites. 

The Government has also launched a free WhatsApp service for the public. The new free to use service aims to provide official, trustworthy and timely information and advice about coronavirus (COVID-19), and will further reduce the burden on NHS services.

This will help combat the spread of coronavirus misinformation in the UK, as well as helping ensure people stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.

The service will provide information on topics such as coronavirus prevention and symptoms, the latest number of cases in the UK, advice on staying at home, travel advice and myth-busting.

To use the free GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp, simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.

Resources for children

Information about coronavirus

Childline has created a new webpage with information for children and young people about coronavirus. The page includes information about: what coronavirus is; where children and young people can find help if they are worried; coping if they are staying at home; and what to do if they are feeling unwell.

Supporting and reassuring young children 

Mindheart has published a short book to support and reassure children under the age of 7 about coronavirus. Covibook is available to download in 21 languages including English.

Read the news story #COVIBOOK Supporting and reassuring children around the world

Read the book Covibook (PDF)

Please visit the Children’s Commissioner website for a guide to help explain to children some of the issues surrounding coronavirus.

Wolverhampton Libraries

Wolverhampton's library service has extended the range of titles available online through BorrowBox. A further 350 bestselling children’s and adults eBooks and eAudiobooks have been added and can be accessed for free. 

Customers can choose from hundreds of favourite eBooks and eAudiobooks through the BorrowBox library via any Apple iOS and Google Android phone, tablet or computer. 

Titles can be borrowed for free for a period of three weeks, at which point they can be renewed or will automatically be deleted from people’s devices, meaning customers won’t be fined for forgetting to return books on time.

It's free to join Wolverhampton's libraries. To find out more, and to sign up, please visit wolverhampton.gov.uk/libraries

Flu Fighters nurse returns

Our very own Flu Fighters nurse has returned to share some top tips with children to help them play their part in preventing the spread of coronavirus.

Gruffalo and Coronavirus

A free digital book for children about Coronavirus and illustrated by Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler - Coronavirus - A book for children.

The spread of coronavirus could have implications for your work, benefits and travel plans.

The Money Advice Service has produced some useful information about your finances during this time and advises actions that people can take to help themselves during this time. 

These can be found at:

Advice about benefits 

If you are living in Wolverhampton (or work for the City of Wolverhampton Council) and have concerns over your benefits/claiming benefits due to the coronavirus then you can contact the City of Wolverhampton Council's Welfare Rights Service by email on wrs.covid19@wolverhampton.gov.uk for information and advice. 

When emailing please provide your name and a contact telephone number. The Welfare Rights service will seek to respond to your enquiry on the same day/next day.     

Wolverhampton City Credit Union Information

The Worcester Street branch is closed to the public. However, they are aiming to make special arrangements for the small number of vulnerable members who do not have access to bank accounts or cash. 

In addition, if you live in Wolverhampton you may still be eligible to apply for a loan online. To contact Wolverhampton City Credit Union, please email contactus@wccul.co.uk, visit www.wccul.co.uk or call 01902 572340. Their opening hours are 10:00 – 3:30pm Monday to Friday. 
 

What to do if you are worried about Domestic Violence

We know that if you are experiencing domestic abuse you may find social distancing particularly difficult, particularly if it means spending more time with your abuser. If you are worried about self-isolating with somebody who is harming you, you are not alone, please contact the Haven Wolverhampton for advice and support:

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 Safe Lives guide or on The Haven Wolverhampton Twitter page.

For advice and guidance from SafeLives, please view Staying safe during COVID-19 A guide for victims and survivors of domestic abuse

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