The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have lent their support to a Public Health England initiative to boost the nation's mental health during the coronavirus pandemic. The new guidance gives helpful tips on how to look after your own wellbeing, alongside advice for parents and carers on children's mental health during the shutdown. Announced on Sunday by Mental Health Minister Nadine Dorries, who was herself diagnosed with COVID-19, the guidance, which can be found on the gov.uk website, offers tips on staying in touch with family and friends via video calls and social media, as well as establishing a regular routine and a healthy sleep pattern or starting a new hobby. The Health Minister also announced an additional £5million in funding to leading mental health charities to expand their services.
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Prince William and Kate said: "The last few weeks have been anxious and unsettling for everyone. We have to take time to support each other and find ways to look after our mental health. It is great to see the mental health sector working together with the NHS to help people keep on top of their mental wellbeing. By pulling together and taking simple steps each day, we can all be better prepared for the times ahead."
Health Minister Nadine added: "When I discovered I had coronavirus I felt anxious and scared. For those who already suffer with anxiety or other mental health issues this may present new and difficult challenges. It's imperative that we stay home if we are to beat coronavirus and save lives. I know how important it is that people have support to look after their mental health and this guidance will be of huge value."
Kate Middleton spoke to Catherine Roche, CEO of Place2Be
The guidance, which was developed with the input of mental health charities and clinically assured by the NHS, also has points on how to help children manage stress and there is also support for those who are already living with a serious mental health problem. PHE said it is issuing guidance to trusts on prioritisation of services and how to maximise use of digital and virtual channels to keep delivering support to patients. It said NHS mental health providers are also establishing 24/7 helplines.
William and Kate have been engaged with the mental health sector since the start of the coronavirus crisis. Earlier this month, the Duke spoke to Paul Farmer, CEO of Mind, and the Duchess spoke to Catherine Roche, CEO of Place2Be, to hear about the issues they are facing.
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Prince William spoke to Paul Farmer, CEO of Mind
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Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said: "Reaching out to friends and family is critical, as well as paying attention to the impact our physical health can have on our mental health - from diet and exercise to getting enough natural light and a little fresh air." He added: "Whether we have an existing mental health problem or not, we are all going to need extra help to deal with the consequences of this unprecedented set of circumstances."
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