These are indeed unprecedented times and now, more than ever, being a union member is vitally important.
As well as the obvious concerns surrounding physical health in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, taking care of your mental health is also vital at this time, as naturally current events are likely to be a cause of stress and anxiety. Mental health is a conversation many find difficult in the pilot community, but the impact of this situation is also felt by our family and the wider community. There is, however, a wealth of resources available for those seeking support on this subject; please see the links below. The list is by no means exhaustive, but we hope these contacts may prove helpful to you or a colleague.
The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) have published a useful article listing some suggestions for managing COVID-19-related anxiety:
Mind (a leading UK mental health charity) has also compiled suggestions for supporting your wellbeing during the Coronavirus outbreak:
The Mental Health Foundation (another leading UK mental health charity) also has specific Coronavirus mental health guidance:
The BABCP (British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies) have produced an 11-minute podcast suggesting methods for managing COVID-19 anxiety, which can be found here:
Coronavirus-specific anxiety may also exacerbate existing mental health problems, aside from anxiety.
For eating disorders and COVID-19, Beat (a leading UK eating disorder charity) offer guidance found here:
COVID-19 anxiety may also increase the challenges for those suffering from OCD. Please find OCD-specific advice here:
For those who are experiencing heightened stress and anxiety, but do not feel that they would require assistance from professional intervention, there are many self-help resources available to help manage anxiety. Many of these resources will also be useful to those who are also experiencing more severe difficulties, as they may be used as additional support alongside counselling, etc. Similarly, some of these resources are also useful even for those who only experience low-level, less frequent anxiety, or just for day-to-day life, such as resources with meditation exercises and soundscapes to assist with sleep. Some examples are listed below:
Headspace is an app aimed at every-day meditation and mindfulness and thus is suitable for anyone, from those suffering from severe mental health illness to those who simply wish to live more healthily. The app offers guided meditations, soundscapes and exercises for better sleep, and a free ‘Weathering the Storm’ section aimed at alleviating anxiety related to COVID-19.
Similar to Headspace, another guided meditation app is Calm, which also aims to help you achieve lower stress, better sleep and less anxiety.
A useful starting place for those with mental health concerns may be the website for the UK mental health charity Mind, which aims to de-stigmatise mental health by providing accessible information and guidance, across a wealth of topics.
For those who feel they require greater support, self-referral to private counselling offers complete confidentiality and personal assistance. The BACP website has a database for their registered counsellors, who in light of the COVID-19 outbreak may offer face-to-face web-call based sessions.
For anyone at immediate risk, please use emergency resources, such as:
Samaritans- free, completely anonymous and immediate support, online at https://www.samaritans.org/ or by calling 116 123.
Alternatively, for those in immediate danger, contact the emergency services by calling 999.
We hope these resources are helpful and we are always here to help.