Posted: 23 March 2020

Social distancing, staying connected and showing support

With the current Coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak and growing uncertainty over what to expect in the next few months, it's understandable to feel confused and concerned. 

The Government’s decision to close schools and childcare will have life changing consequences for families and children and politicians must immediately engage with the issues this creates.

In the meantime, we must be sensible and look out for each other, especially for young people who need our reassurance. If you know someone who is feeling low, there are some small things you can do to show your support.

As one of our practitioners in Birmingham says, 'you don't need to be an expert in mental health to support and talk to a young person'.

7 tips for staying connected and showing your support

If you know someone who might be feeling low and need someone to talk to then here a few tips for showing them support.

Listen.

It seems obvious but listening to your friend, or simply letting them know you’re happy to listen is the most important thing. People’s willingness to talk varies but you can ask open questions and show them you’re interested in how they’re feeling.

Accept.

Acknowledge and accept how your friend feels. Don’t be critical or try any ‘quick fixes’ – it’s much better to try and understand how they’re feeling and work through it on their terms. It’s important your friend doesn’t feel pressured to behave in a different way. 

Be open.

Being open and honest about your life will show that it’s ok to talk. Sometimes it’s good to chat normally and try not to focus on anything in particular. Sometimes you might want to share personal difficulties. The most important thing is to be calm, patient and open to talking.  

Learn.

Even if related to Coronavirus Covid-19, the exact causes of your friend’s low mood may be unclear. It’s worth reading up on issues that may apply and keeping up to date with the facts of the outbreak from the NHS or WHO. Our resource vault also has information and advice on many different issues affecting young people. 

Invite.

It’s difficult to be proactive when you’re feeling low. Given the current situation with social distancing, many young people may feel like they have to face things alone. If you are able to keep in contact with your friend and send them invites, it shows them that people still want to socialise and they are there if you need them - even if socialising is limited to video chat rooms and online messaging. 

Encourage.

It’s important you encourage your friend to try things themselves. Even when we're isolating, there are little things we can do to improve our mood. It may helping with a chore or trying something new. Be open to talking with your friend and their family over what support they can offer each other.

Support.

It's also worth being familiar with support systems available to your friend. You can’t force someone to get help but you can let them know what help is available. Many local services will be closed but there are still 24-hour helplines and online chats where young people can get support.

For our latest information regarding Coronavirus Covid-19, please see our support hub offering advice and resources for young people who are affected by the outbreak. 

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