COVID-19 and mental health

Coronavirus and your mental health

One year on from the start of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic, the effect on mental health and wellbeing is fast emerging. We have all dealt with difficult emotions throughout the pandemic from depression and anxiety through to coping with bereavement, all of which has been an extra challenge for those already living with mental health problems.

The challenges of the pandemic can have a knock-on effect on other areas of our lives, especially when we are already coping with challenging situations.

Below you will find links to other pages on Rotherhive with resources for problems or concerns that may have been made worse during the pandemic.

COVID-19 and anxiety

Fear, worry, and stress are normal responses when we are faced with uncertainty or the unknown. It is understandable that people are experiencing such feelings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus has changed many aspects of our everyday lives, and we have all been faced with a new reality, from wearing masks, social distancing, self-isolation, shielding, working from home, temporary unemployment (furlough), home-schooling of children, and lack of physical contact with other family members, friends and colleagues.

If you or someone you know has experienced anxiety before the coronavirus pandemic and the pandemic has caused this to become worse or you may be experiencing anxiety for the first time, support is available.

Helping to stop the spread of coronavirus is essential and in ensuring we do this we are required to wear masks / face covering when going about our daily activities.

Masks are not easy for everyone with many find it very hard, or even impossible to cope with. Others may find it hard to interact with people wearing masks, or not wearing them. And for those with existing mental health problems, masks may pose extra challenges such as increased anxiety, a panic / claustrophobic / trapped feeling.

Even those who are exempt from wearing a mask, challenges are still faced such as anxiety from possibly being stopped, challenged, and judged by others in public, as people may not be aware as to the reason you are exempt from wearing a mask.

You may never feel totally comfortable with masks, however there are coping techniques that you can use to help make your experience easier.


Tips for coping with masks and face coverings:


  • Get some fresh air where it is safe to do so – try breathing in fresh air outside before and after you need to wear your mask.
  • Choose a face covering that is comfortable for you – try different materials, sizes and styles to help you feel comfier when wearing a mask
  • If it makes your glasses fog up – make sure your mask fits well. A loose-fitting mask lets more of your warmed breath escape from the top of the mask. For a tighter fit try a mask that ties in the back, has adjustable ear loops or has a bendable nose piece.

For more tips includes information on why masks can cause difficult feelings, provides practical tips on how to cope and also includes information on exemptions for mental health reasons.

Loneliness is a feeling that many experienced or are currently experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic. In our efforts to stay home and save lives, our usual way of interacting with family and friends has changed. Feelings of loneliness are personal, so everyone’s experience of loneliness will be different.

What to do if you are feeling lonely:  

Feeling lonely can have a big impact on your wellbeing, which might make it even harder to make positive steps to feeling better.

  • Talk – call a friend or family member for a general chat / catch up
  • Peer support – join an online group or class that focuses on something you enjoy
  • Walk – consider going for short walks in public places (while keeping a two metre distance)
  • Try to get enough sleep
  • Think about your diet – eat healthy and regularly
  • Activities 

Changes to our lifestyle during the pandemic, as well as the extra worries it has caused, can have a detrimental impact on our sleep pattern.

If you are finding it difficult to sleep, do something about it now to try and break the cycle of sleeplessness.

Sleepstation is a 6-week online course for people who struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep through the night. The course is tailored to your needs using the information you provide, and gives you access to a team of sleep experts who will offer helpful advice and support throughout.

If you or someone you know is worried about their COVID-19 vaccination, provides NHS-verified information and practical advice on the COVID-19 vaccine including which mental health problems are included in priority groups and detailed frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Maintaining a healthy mental wellbeing during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has been a challenge for many. The Wellness Hive has been created to support you and the people you care about. Here you will find top-tips, advice and activities to help you take notice of your thoughts and feelings during the coronavirus pandemic.

Local support in Rotherham

01709 447755

Monday to Friday, 9am–5pm
Local venues (dependent on Coronavirus restrictions)
Interpreting service available

Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH) provides an Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Service. The service, provided by local therapists, is for Rotherham residents who require support with:

  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Panic
  • Social anxiety
  • Phobias
  • Health anxiety
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder

The service offers:

  • Patient consultation in a way to suit every patient’s needs by:
    • Telephone
    • Video
    • Face-to-face contact (dependent on Coronavirus restrictions)
  • Group therapy
  • Stress classes

Treatments include:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • Guided self-help with Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners
  • Counselling
  • Couples therapy for depression
  • Online CBT with Minddistrict
  • Online Be Mindful course
  • EMDR
  • Interpersonal therapy

0800 0745560 (calls to this number are free)

CBT is an effective type of talking therapy used to treat a range of common mental health problems. With online CBT – provided by Ieso Digital Health – you will work 1:1 with your therapist, but the conversation is typed instead of spoken. It’s exactly like chatting via a messenger service with friends. You don’t need to be brilliant at spelling or worry about using the correct grammar. Online CBT has been shown to be just as effective as face-to-face, and many people find it less daunting and easier to be open.

Other benefits of online CBT:

  • Attend your therapy sessions from home.
  • Flexible appointments to suit you.
  • Seven days a week, 6am to 11pm.

Tel: 01709 919929


Mind is an independent local provider of high quality mental health services in Rotherham, which offer a variety of services including one-to-one counselling, group sessions, support for young people, training and services for employers. Committed to supporting those in need by promoting good mental health and offering high quality support so that no-one feels alone when dealing with mental health problems.

0800 652 9571 (calls to this number are FREE)

If you or someone you know has concerns about their immediate health RDaSH Crisis Team can help. One of our trained call handlers will signpost you to the most appropriate service depending on your level of need. This may include your out of hours GP, a voluntary organisation or our access/crisis team.

Hard of hearing? Deaf? For anyone unable to use the standard telephone line, i.e. hard of hearing, there is a text phone service available.
Please text 07974 603610

National support organisations

NHS provides information on 5 steps that you can take to improve your mental health and wellbeing. Trying these things could help you feel more positive and able to get the most out of life.

Young Minds has lots of tips, advice and guidance on where you can get support for your mental health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Having good mental health helps us relax more, achieve more and enjoy our lives more. We have expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing.

Tel: 0800 678 1602


Open 8am to 7pm, every day of the year

Age UK is the country’s largest charity dedicated to helping everyone make the most of later life. We provide companionship, advice and support for older people who need it most.

Text 85258 (24/7 help)

Shout is the UK’s first 24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help.

The NHS website has contact information for a number of mental health helplines.

Combat Stress is the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health. Helping  former servicemen and women with mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The service provides confidential advice and support to veterans and their families.

Tel: 0800 138 1619  (24-hour Helpline, 365 days a year)

Text: 07537 404719


Support apps

Togetherall is an online community for people who are stressed, anxious or feeling low, with round-the-clock support from trained professionals.

Calm Harm provides tasks to help you resist or manage the urge to self-harm.


Catch It – learn how to manage feelings like anxiety and depression.


distrACT gives you easy, quick and discreet access to information and advice about self-harm and suicidal thoughts.


Sleepstation is a 6-week online course for people who struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep through the night. The course is tailored to your needs using the information you provide, and gives you access to a team of sleep experts who will offer helpful advice and support throughout.

My Possible Self: The Mental Health App. Take control of your thoughts, feelings and behaviour with the My Possible Self mental health app. Use the simple learning modules to manage fear, anxiety and stress and tackle unhelpful thinking. Record your experiences and track symptoms to better understand your mental health.


The Pzizz app helps you quickly calm your mind, fall asleep fast, stay asleep, and wake up refreshed.

It uses “dreamscapes” – a mix of music, voiceovers and sound effects designed using the latest clinical research – to help you sleep better at night or take power naps during the day.


With Rotherham Health app you can assess your symptoms, book and manage your appointments, view your medical record and test results, manage your medication and much more, 24/7.


HealthUnlocked is the world’s largest social network for health. Find and connect with people with a similar health condition. The service has over 700 online communities focused on health and wellbeing topics.

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