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Anxious and worried right now? You're completely normal!

Most of us are feeling stressed and anxious at the moment, but how do we deal with it?

Dr Gráinne O’Brien is a Senior Clinical Psychologist for the Scottish Haemophilia Psychological Support Service. Here, she gives us her advice on how to stay healthy mentally at a time of great anxiety and uncertainty for us all.

Dr O’Brien writes:

“At the moment, every day seems to bring new challenges. There is a lot to adapt to, whether that is working from home, increased childcare responsibilities or spending time away from those we love. These changes can be really difficult.  

“One of the most important things to emphasise is that what you are currently feeling is normal. It is normal to be feeling stressed or anxious at the moment. Our whole lives have changed in a matter of days. Most of us have never experienced anything like this before.

We cannot switch off our feelings of anxiety. These are very normal in this abnormal situation. However, we can spend time doing things that help us to manage these feelings better.

“There is so much uncertainty in our lives currently and things can feel very much out of our control. Life right now can feel scary and unpredictable.  Many of us will feel anxious and that is okay.

“It is natural to want to watch and read everything about COVID-19. However, it is important to have a break from the constant flood of information, perhaps limiting reading about COVID-19 to once or twice a day. Ensure the information you are consuming comes from a reputable news source. Rumours and incorrect information are unhelpful and increases our anxiety.

“We do not have control over the rules the Government makes or what people say around us, but we do have choices and control over a lot of things. We can choose to follow these rules, choose what news sources we engage with, how we spend our days and what routines we create.

“We cannot switch off our feelings of anxiety. These are very normal in this abnormal situation. However, we can spend time doing things that help us to manage these feelings better.

“Spending time doing things we enjoy, speaking with friends and family using the telephone or technology and engaging in relaxing activities will all be helpful. Remember this won’t last forever.”

Below Dr O’Brien lists useful links to expert advice online, which includes support for parents, children, carers and people with autism.

Resources for adults and young people

Psychology tools

A written guide to living with worry and anxiety amidst global uncertainty. This handout includes some really useful tips to help manage anxiety.

FACE Covid – how to respond effectively to the corona crisis by Dr Russ Harris

This video and written guide describe practical steps for responding helpfully to the corona crisis, using the principles of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).

A quick guide to managing anxiety and stress around coronavirus

A youtube presentation by Dr Ellie Atkins, a clinical psychologist at St Georges Hospital. In this video she describes what anxiety is and introduces some helpful coping strategies.   

Resources for parents and carers

British Psychological Society: Talking to children about illness

A leaflet giving helpful advice on how to speak to children of different ages about COVID-19.

 Scottish Government: Coronavirus advice for parents and families

The Scottish Government has launched a new information hub for parents and families about coronavirus on its “Parent Club” website. New content includes: health information, advice on how to talk to children about coronavirus and ideas on how to support children during the pandemic.

NSPCC: Talking to a child worried about coronavirus 

The NSPCC has created a new webpage with information and advice for parents or carers who are worried a child or young person may be struggling with their mental health or has anxiety about coronavirus.

Emerging minds: Supporting children and young people with their worries and anxiety

Emerging Minds, in collaboration with the University of Reading and the University of Oxford, has published good advice for parents and carers supporting children and young people with worries about coronavirus.

A quick guide for children and young people to managing anxiety and stress around coronavirus

A youtube presentation by Dr Ellie Atkins, a clinical psychologist at St Georges Hospital. In this video she describes what anxiety is and introduces some helpful coping strategies.  

 Resources for children and young people with autism

The Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health has released a podcast for parents and carers about supporting children and young people with autism during the coronavirus outbreak.

The National Autistic Society has published helpful resources for people with autism of all ages.

Do you have any other worries about coronavirus and your bleeding disorder? You can find the answers to frequently asked questions here.


Jessica Bomford

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