This information sheet will hopefully provide helpful information to your employees during these uncertain times.  Please get in touch with Soma for further support on 01905 422808.

Advice you can provide to staff who are worried

a. Ensure that you rely on trusted authorities such as NHS or PHE for information about the pandemic and what to do. Whilst it is understandable that people will want to watch some media reporting of the crisis, people who find their anxiety levels increase when they do so, should very much limit their exposure to such information. In an uncertain time, people should try to ‘stick to the known facts’ rather than focus on speculation and
possibly unhelpful stories of dismay or sorrow.

b. Ensure that you proactively reach out to other people and check on how they are doing. Share your own concerns with them that may in turn help them to share their concerns with you. If you must isolate yourself physically, there is a wide range of ways to keep in touch using phones, WhatsApp, Skype or similar. Physical isolation should not mean social isolation. Do not wait for other people to contact you; make a distinct effort to be
more in touch than usual.

c. Whilst you might feel that there is currently ‘no point’ in sticking to a healthy lifestyle, in fact it is now more important than ever to do so. We know that a healthier body makes it more likely you will have a healthier mind. So this is the time to get more sleep, eat better food, drink less alcohol and smoke less and to exercise more regularly.

d. If you do get to the point of feeling unable to cope, reach out to someone for help. Just because there will be many people who have physical health difficulties during the current crisis, it does not mean that those in a mental health crisis should not be cared for too.

e. Make use of trusted sources of information to bolster your mental resilience. Have a look at the NHS Every Mind Matters website (https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mindmatters/your-mind-plan-quiz/) which provides a range of information and tools that you might find useful. The Mental Health Foundation have some information which is specific to the current outbreak (https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/looking-after-yourmental-health-during-coronavirus-outbreak).

Advice on supporting people to stay well while self-isolating

a. You should advise people who self-isolate to stay connected to their usual social network. Furthermore, they should try to keep to their usual routine as much as possible. When limiting physical social contact, people should stay connected via email, social media, video conference and telephone.

b. Furthermore, those in isolation should try to keep to their usual routine as much as possible. This should mean working as much as they can, and this is best done through liaison with their line manager.

c. People who self-isolate should be advised to pay attention to their own needs and feelings and to engage in healthy activities that they enjoy and find relaxing. Encourage them to exercise regularly, keep to regular sleep routines, eat healthy food and limit unhealthy behaviours such as the use of excessive alcohol, smoking or gambling.

d. You should advise isolating individuals to keep repeated exposure to a never-ending stream of news to a minimum. This can cause anyone to feel anxious or distressed. Instead advise them to seek information from trusted sources such as the NHS website. They should also avoid listening to or following rumours that make them feel uncomfortable.