Mental Health Support for Young Carers During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Last updated 09/07/10 at 15:18

It’s easy to feel a bit overwhelmed and scared by everything you’re hearing about coronavirus disease (COVID-19) right now. It is important to try and look after your mental health as best you can.

If you are worried that you or the person you care for may have contracted COVID-19, you can check your symptoms at NHS Inform. 

If you are a young carer and living with someone who is shielding, some restrictions have been lifted with more being eased soon to make things a little easier. From 10th July, those who are shielding:

  • No longer need to physically distance from people they live with;
  • Can meet in groups of up to eight people outdoors from two other households in a single day, as long as strict hand hygiene and physical distancing advice is followed;
  • Travel further than 5 miles from their house, book places to stay, such as self-catering accommodation without shared facilities, and use toilets in other people’s houses if they are meeting them outdoors;
  • Form a ‘extended household group’ with one other household – this means that the shielding group can visit one other household indoors and stay overnight without physical distancing.

A decision on whether infection levels are low enough to allow shielding to be paused from 1 August will be announced before the end of July. You can find more information about shielding guidelines on the Scottish Government's website.

You can now get tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) if you are a young carer. Find out more about how to get tested, where testing happens and when you should get tested on the Scottish Government website.

In the meantime, you can take some simple steps to protect your mental health and to look after your loved ones:

  • If you are feeling stressed or anxious, this may be related to seeing lots of media coverage and new stories about the impact of Covid-19. Although it is important to stay informed, consider taking a break if you feel things are getting on top of you.
  • NHS guidance encourages individuals who are displaying symptoms, and their families, to self-isolate.  It is important that you try and stay as connected to your friends/family and co-workers as much as possible via skype, email, video-calling and telephone.
  • Social media can be an excellent way to keep in touch with your loved ones. However, as with news coverage, you should be mindful of your use of social media. Use it to promote positive interactions, and put your device away if it starts to negatively affect your mood. Many smartphones allow you to set time limits for certain apps such as Facebook or Instagram.
  • It is important to maintain, where possible, your normal daily routine.  This means going to bed at the same time every night and waking at the same time each morning, maintaining a healthy diet and staying physically active.
  • Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for feeling emotionally healthy the next day. We all feel better after a good night’s sleep. Think about creating a consistent routine to ensure you get the amount of sleep you need, but also about ensuring your bedroom is quiet, dark, and a relaxing environment to sleep in.
  • If you know someone who is self-isolating, contact them by telephone to offer a chat and to ask if they need anything brought to them. If you know a person who lives alone and who has no access to a telephone, you can help by safely reaching out to ensure they have what they need to survive this difficult time. Make sure to follow government advice regarding shopping and spending time outdoors.

Mental Health Support

It is perfectly normal to feel worried during exceptional and frightening times such as this. However, if you are starting to feel overwhelmed, it’s important to acknowledge your feelings and speak to someone you trust, whether that’s a friend, a family member, your GP or a helpline such as Samaritans on 116 123 or Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87.

Due to COVID-19 and current social distancing restrictions, your caring responsibilities may have changed. You may also need to take some specific precautions to protect both yourself and the person you care for. Find out more about caring during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and take a look at our information on personal protective equipment (PPE) and how to get some

Find out more about what's happening and the simple steps you can take to help prevent catching COVID-19 and spreading to others.

More information from Young Scot on Coronavirus (COVID-19).