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Suffolk mental health expert’s top tips for surviving coronavirus

A Suffolk mental health expert has advised anyone nervous about the coronavirus to follow a routine, exercise and ‘not read the news every five minutes’.

Dr John Hague, a GP and clinical lead for mental health at East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, has said following the government’s advice to stay safe is paramount.

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The lockdown has put pressure on the mental health of many
The lockdown has put pressure on the mental health of many

He told the Bury Free Press: “As a society we are used to meeting face-to-face, but there is evidence to show in most cases appointments over the phone are just as effective in most mental health cases.

“It is not currently advised to meet as we usually would in many cases, but we are still able to provide an effective service.”

“You don’t need to check the news every five minutes, maybe just look once or twice per day."

Dr Hague said it has been a challenging time for people with underlying mental health conditions, and that many people could not ‘relate’ to obsessive compulsive behaviour in washing hands and avoiding others.

“To maintain your wellbeing it is important to look after your mind and body especially well

in the next few weeks,” he added.

“To aid your mental health, you have to look after your physical health. Eat well, exercise, don’t smoke or don’t drink too much.

“If you are overweight, even by a little, then it is really worthwhile taking this in hand – in the

last year I lost two stone, and I have stopped snoring, sleep much better, do not get indigestion, and find moving around much easier.

“It is also important to keep a routine, get up at the same time and make a to do list. When you tick items off you begin to feel good about things.”

He added: “You don’t need to check the news every five minutes, maybe just look once or twice per day. There is more to your life than checking how bad things are.”

For more information on mental health advice for Suffolk, visit: www.wellbeingnands.co.uk/suffolk/

Dr John Hague of East Suffolk CCG
Dr John Hague of East Suffolk CCG

Doctor’s orders: Dr Hague’s top seven tips for mental health care

Talk about your feelings: Either with people at home, or by email or phone.

Take a break: If you are working at home, looking after young children, we all need to briefly take time to have a cuppa, and take stock.

Keep in touch: Use the extra time that we all have to get in regular touch with friend and family.

Do something that you are good at: Why not restart the hobby that you used to enjoy, before life got too busy?

Accept who you are: Now is not the time to look back and criticise yourself, you are doing a great job of getting through helping the nation defeat Coronavirus, give yourself some praise.

Ask for help: If you are struggling, reach out to a friend, or visit 111 online for advice, ask a friend to help with shopping if you can't get out.

Care for others: Volunteering or caring for others, even by phone or Skype can really enhance your mental wellbeing.

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