As Scotland continues to tackle the spread of coronavirus, you may find yourself in a situation where you have to self-isolate because you are experiencing symptoms of the virus or because you have been advised to do so by the NHS as part of the Test and Protect system.
Helping out friends and family who are in this situation, or asking those close to you for help if you find yourself self-isolating, is something you can do that will ease the pressure on support services for others who need them. However, if you don't have a network of support available and you need help, there are things that you can access and they are available for you to use.
The Scottish Government has put together some information on support for anyone self-isolating.
Updated self-isolation rules will come into effect from Monday 9th August. If you are identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case and you are fully vaccinated, with your second dose having been given at least 14 days prior to contact, you should arrange a PCR test and can end your isolation upon receiving a negative result. Five to 17 year olds can end their isolation if they receive a negative PCR test, even if not fully vaccinated. Children under the age of 5 will have no requirement to self-isolate.
The national helpline
A national helpline has been set up for people who do not have a network of support but may need it due to COVID-19.
If you need help with any of the issues in this article, you can contact the national helpline on 0800 111 4000, or via text phone on 0800 111 4114.
The helpline is open between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday. You will be connected to your local authority who can help provide support or signpost on to other organisations to help you. They will be able to help you with things such as:
- food, if you're not able to get the day-to-day food you need
- medication, if you're not able to pick up the prescriptions you need
- access to local social work services
- emotional support
- contact with local volunteer groups.
Help with food
Many retailers are offering gift vouchers just now that allow a friend, family member, neighbour or someone you know to shop for you in a contactless, safe and secure way. Check the terms for each offer on gov.scot.
Online shopping or delivery of boxes of preselected goods that can often be delivered next day is also available at many retailers. Details of what schemes different retailers are running can also be found on gov.scot.
However many local businesses will also offer a range of goods which can delivered to those self-isolating. Have a look online at local pages on social media or speak to people in your local area to find out what is available.
Help with medical essentials
If you need essential items like prescription medications you should ask friends, family members or neighbours if they can help out by collecting these for you. Your pharmacy may also be able to deliver these to you.
Or, you can call the national helpline, 0800 111 4000 or via textphone on 0800 111 4114, for support who will be able to help you get what you need.
Help with housing and energy
If you need advice in an emergency, you can phone Shelter Scotland's free housing advice helpline on 0808 800 4444.
Councils have to offer a minimum of advice, assistance and temporary accommodation to anyone who is homeless or at risk of homelessness. The gov.uk website lets you search for your local council, you can find out how to make your homeless application by calling or looking on their site.
If you, or someone you know, is experiencing domestic abuse help is available, including information about accommodation options. Call Scotland’s Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 027 1234 or visit Safer.Scot.
You can access more information and other useful resources through our campaign, That's Not OK.
Domestic abuse is a crime. Call 101 to report it or 999 in an emergency.
All energy suppliers have signed up to an agreement to help customers who are struggling financially right now. Check to see if you have been sent any information from your supplier about what they can do to help or contact them directly to find out.
If you are struggling with your energy bills, you can call Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282. For more information and advice on your energy bills, visit the Energy Saving Trust website.
Your mobile or broadband provider may also be able to help you right now, many have committed to removing data-caps on broadband services or are offering new packages for customers, you can find more information in the article we've put together about it.
Help with your mental wellbeing
This can be a difficult time for many people, especially if you have to self-isolate. You may feel lonely, anxious or depressed even if you have never have been affected by mental health issues in the past.
You can call the Samaritans 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on 116 123. The Samaritans also provide information on the effects of coronavirus on mental health.
You can phone Breathing Space for advice and support on 0800 83 85 87. The service is open Monday to Thursday from 6pm to 2am and Friday from 6pm to Monday 6am. You can also visit the Breathing Space website for tips on staying connected.
If you already get help from your GP and are experiencing a mental health crisis, phone your GP or care team first. If you are unable to talk to them, call 111 or if you need an ambulance, phone 999.
Remember, whatever you are going through there are lots of organisations out there who are offering support. Some may have changed the ways or times in which you can contact them due to COVID-19. Read our article about the different kinds of support available right now, or visit Aye Feel for a range of resources and information about how to look after your mental health.
Help with work
If your place of work has shut down or there’s no work for you because of coronavirus, you can carry on getting paid. Your employer can use the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme to pay you while there’s no work to do.
If you’ve been 'furloughed', your employer is probably using the scheme.
You can read our article about how COVID-19 is affecting the world of work and all the work-related support available right now.
Help with money
If you’ve been financially affected by coronavirus, and if you’re eligible, you should apply for Statutory Sick Pay, Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance. The UK Government has introduced some temporary changes to make this process easier. Find out more from the Department of Work and Pensions.
If you are experiencing a crisis you may be eligible for a Crisis Grant through the Scottish Welfare Fund.
Visit Citizens Advice Scotland for support or phone them on 0800 028 1456.
Information about support and advice for businesses can be found on the Find Business Support website or you can call 0300 303 0660 between 8.30am and 5.30pm Monday to Friday.
On the 22nd of September, the First Minister announced there will be a £500 grant available for low-income households asked to self-isolate by NHS Test & Protect. On the 2nd of February, it was announced that the grant would be extended to everyone earning below the real living wage who has been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test & Protect. Including households where their children have been asked to self-isolate. As of February the 11th, you can download a certificate of proof from the Protect Scotland App that you can give to your employer or use when claiming the self-isolation grant as proof that you need to self-isolate. For more information on if you are entitled to it and how to access this grant visit the UK Government Website.
You can also read our article with information about support available right now and what steps you can take to manage your finances.
More information on Young Scot and coronavirus (COVID-19).