With being asked to stay at home once more and to reduce close contact with family and friends, it's normal that we may start to feel lonely and isolated.
You or your family and friends may be feeling worried, scared, sad or even a bit angry. All of these things can have a negative impact on your mental health. But there are practical things you can do to keep positive.
To help we've created a list of useful apps and online tools, some of which have been recommended by the NHS. They are all designed to help with the mental health challenges we might face when socially distanced from friends and family or when self-isolating.
If you need more support, we have links to organisations who can help you.
Cost: Free (with in-app purchases)
What is it? An app that uses adventure games designed by psychologists to help increase emotional fitness and teach new psychological skills. It also provides tips on how to communicate more effectively and maintain mental health.
Who is it suitable for? Anyone over the age of 12 who wants to improve their emotional wellbeing.
How does it work? After mastering a set of psychological skills, the user can choose their own adventure game to put them to the test. Game type changes level by level, along with mini-games designed to help them understand their personality and identify their areas for growth and personal development.
Visit the eQuoo website.
Cost: Free (with in-app purchases)
What is it? An app that uses audio tracks designed to help relax the body and mind and build self-confidence, energy and a positive mindset.
Who is it suitable for? Anyone aged 18 or over who feels worried or stressed, and those who want to improve their mental wellbeing, concentration and confidence in all walks of life.
How does it work? The app uses relaxation, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and resilience building techniques from sport to help improve positive feelings, self-esteem and self-confidence. The app offers 4 free audio tracks combining music with gentle coaching. Available as an in-app purchase is the main offering of 12-track positive mental training audio programme. The programme has been used by the NHS in Edinburgh for the last 12 years to help recovery from stress, anxiety and depression.
What is it? The app provides a safe and secure forum for teenagers wanting to discuss an issue affecting their lives. The user can anonymously get advice from experts or other teenagers going through similar experiences in areas such as mental health, self-harming, relationships and friendships.
Who is it suitable for? Teenagers facing issues they’d like to discuss with experts or other teenagers.
How does it work? Users can post messages about any issue they're struggling to cope with. Users can receive supportive responses from other teenagers and guidance from MeeTwo experts designed to build confidence, increase wellbeing and improve emotional resilience. Every post and reply is moderated to make sure only positive feedback is published. The app contains advice and information on a variety of subjects, as well as a directory of specialist support groups that can offer further help.
Visit the MeeToo website.
An online course to help reduce stress and anxiety using mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.
Who is it suitable for? Anyone aged 16 or older who wants to work at improving their mental health and enjoy the benefits of mindfulness practise. Designed for beginners to mindfulness, everything is introduced and explained as the course progresses.
How does it work? 10 sessions lasting 30 minutes each consisting of video, meditation audio and interactive exercises. There is also mindfulness assignments to carry out in daily life and tools to measure any reduction in stress, depression and anxiety. The course can be completed in as little as four weeks but can take longer if preferred. There is no limit to completion. Users can register for a free introduction and decide later to pay and proceed with the course.
Visit the Be Mindful website.
Cost: Continues use costs £4.17/month, £49.99/year
What is it? A mindfulness and meditation app accessible to all. The app uses ‘guided meditations’ and audio sessions to help beginners learn to meditate. Headspace is offering free support during the coronavirus crisis. Customers can try Head Space for free for 2 weeks.
Visit the Head Space website.
What is it? Designed to guide people through a panic attack or raised anxiety using their phone.
Available from the App Store.
What is it? Helps users manage worries and improve wellbeing. The app measures heart rate and suggests tasks to suit the state of mind.
What is it? Quick and discreet access to information and advice about self-harm and suicidal thoughts.
In the winter months, it's often not as easy to get out for exercise, but on days when you can't get out, there are some exercises you can do at home.
Throughout the first lockdown, The Body Coach provided free PE lessons live on his YouTube channel to help children stay fit and healthy. The free workouts were a huge success and received overwhelmingly positive feedback. You can view the daily library of workouts and many more fitness videos for all levels free on Joe Wicks' channel.
View the Joe Wicks channel on YouTube.
A great way for people to stay socially active during self-isolation is to connect to online local community hubs.
Online community hubs are a great way of bringing communities together digitally. They allow people to interact over shared hobbies and interests such as gardening, reading, sharing and other social groups.
The below sites offer a great way of strengthening communities and hopefully making neighbours, people of different ages and those who are lonely feel much more supported during this period of isolation and beyond.
Our top community site picks: