Now that we’re moving into a new phase of the pandemic, and all legal restrictions have been lifted, vaccinations, new treatments, and public health advice will be the key to managing coronavirus. Wearing face coverings when you’re indoors in public places, keeping some distance from others where you can, and regularly washing your hands are also really important.
The Highest Risk List – formerly known as the Shielding List - will end on 31st May. The Scottish Government has advised that the successful vaccination programme and the introduction of new treatments for COVID-19 as well as growing clinical evidence showing that, for the vast majority of those who have been on the List, the risk of becoming very unwell as a result of COVID-19 has been significantly reduced and is now no greater than that of the general public. You can find more information on the decision to end the List on the Scottish Government website.
For some time now the Chief Medical Officer in Scotland has advised that if you or someone you know has been on the Highest Risk List you can follow the same guidance as everyone else in Scotland unless your GP or clinician has told you otherwise. They and you know your personal circumstances and your health condition best.
This is a really positive development, and one that’s been taken because of where we are in the pandemic, but we know that shielding, isolation, loneliness and the worry of thinking of yourself or a member of your family as being at high risk from COVID-19 might have put a strain on your quality of life and mental health. You may be feeling more nervous or a bit isolated, or find that you’re struggling to reconnect with the people and activities you were doing before the pandemic. It's important to know that it's OK to be feeling this way and that you're not alone.
Below we share some resources from AyeFeel to support you with this transition.
How to stay positive
Things that are happening in the world around us can make us feel scared, unhappy or worried. You’re not alone. A lot of people will be feeling this way right now, but there are some small things you can do to help you feel more positive and to help you look after yourself and others in your community. Try following these tips to keep positive:
- Keep in touch with friends and family.
- Don't believe everything you read online, use reliable sources of information.
- Stay active, but also make time to relax.
- Help others and be there for support.
- Remember it is okay to ask for help.
Further details can be found in our article about staying positive during a crisis.
What to do if I feel anxious?
Anxiety is a feeling of unease, like a worry or fear, that can be mild or severe. Everyone feels anxious from time to time and it usually passes once the situation is over.
When anxiety becomes a problem, your worries can be out of proportion with situations. It can feel more intense or overwhelming which can affect your life negatively.
The good news is there are plenty of things you can try to help cope with anxiety. Read this article to find out more about what anxiety is, what causes it, symptoms and ways you can help yourself.
How about if I am feeling lonely?
Being on your own can be very challenging, so it is important to be aware of what you can do to stay on top of your mental health during those times. Lots of help is available to support you and your mental health and wellbeing, Young Scot's Youth Loneliness Panel has gathered a range of information, support and signposting for young people who might be experiencing loneliness in Scotland.
You can also read a blog from Melissa who shares her top eight tips on things to do if you're feeling lonely.
What if I'm struggling to sleep?
Sleeping is essential to our well-being; it increases our immunity to viruses and infections, improves our physical and mental health and promotes growth and healing.
If you're struggling to get to sleep or have the right amount of sleep that you need, take a look at our article with Sleep Scotland with top tips on how to get a good night's sleep.
Where can I keep updated with COVID in Scotland?
As we begin to adapt to living with the virus, some of the laws that were put in place are changing. You can keep updated on COVID-19 with our article that monitors the status of COVID in Scotland and what that means for you.
We also have a guide on looking after your wellbeing during COVID with some advice and tips you can follow if you are in isolation.
#MakeTimeTo look after your mental health
Good mental health and wellbeing can start by taking small actions. Meeting with family, spending time outdoors or checking in with a friend can have a positive impact on your mental health and emotional wellbeing, you might also call this self-care.
Our campaign called #MakeTimeTo focuses on giving tips from organisations and insights from young people that you can act on a daily basis that will support your mental health and emotional wellbeing. You can learn more on our #MakeTimeTo page.
Young Minds also has some great resources on self-care.
Coping strategies for your mental health
Tammy is a mental health therapist we spoke to who shared a range of techniques to support your mental health and emotional well-being. If you are managing anxiety, feeling stressed or just need to focus, try giving these four techniques a go.
Worried about your money
You might see lots in the news at the moment about the rising cost of living, worries about money can impact your mental health.
If this is something you're worried about, take a look at our Money and Me page for information about budgeting, saving and looking after your finances.
Being a young carer can mean different things to different people. Perhaps you might support a relative or a friend from time to time or be responsible for providing care for a parent or guardian for most of every week. But it’s important to know that if you are providing care, support is available.
Get more information on caring for someone and find out how to apply for the Young Carers Package, Carer's Allowance and the Young Carer Grant.
You can also read a blog by Reatha who shares her story about being a young carer and also caring for herself.
If you or somebody else is needing a bit of emotional support, it can be a little scary knowing what to Google, who to turn to and what you can do to manage your emotions in a healthy way. It’s important to talk to someone about how you are feeling. So if you’re struggling, remember you can always talk to a family member or friend, your GP, or a trusted adult at your school like a teacher or a school counsellor or by calling one of the helplines below.
If you're not sure how to talk to someone about how you're feeling, take a look at our article with some top tips and information.
Remember if you or someone else is in immediate danger call 999.
There is a range of organisations that can offer immediate support with your mental health:
- NHS 24: 111 (open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day)
- Childline: 0800 1111 (open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day)
- Samaritans: 116 123 (open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day)
- Papyrus: 0800 068 4141 (open 365 days a year, 9am - midnight)
- Give us a Shout: Text SHOUT to 85258 (open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day)
We also have a list of organisations offering a variety of forms of support.
If you're a young person who has been on the Highest Risk List and would like to share your own tips with other young Scots in a blog, we'd love to hear from you.