As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, the Northern Ireland Executive has introduced new local restrictions aimed at controlling the spread of the virus.

As this topic continues to dominate the news, along with conversations at home and in work, it is easy to become overwhelmed with information.

Fear and anxiety are inevitable responses in the face of a crisis; it is normal to feel this way in challenging situations. The most positive actions you can take are to focus on the things within your control and acknowledge your thoughts.

The COVID Wellbeing NI website features numerous handy tips on promoting good mental health in these challenging times:

– If you are feeling anxious, or are worried about panic attacks, helpful information is available here.

– For guidance around loneliness, isolation and connecting with others, click here.

– If you want to tackle and reduce various forms of stress, you can click on this link.

– Should you be concerned about alcohol, drug or gambling addiction, a number of resources can be accessed here.

– If you want to understand and cope with depression, follow this link for assistance.

– Maintaining your general wellbeing is important, too, and crucial information relating to a number of different topics is available here.

The website also offers a series of self-help toolkits to support good mental health, including guided programmes addressing breathing space, self-care, sleep and worry. All of these materials are listed here.

Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing is a simple way of sustaining and improving wellbeing. While the current restrictions may limit our usual routines, we now have an opportunity to think creatively about to build these 5 steps into our daily lives. COVID Wellbeing NI sets out various ways to Be Active, Learn, Connect, Give and Take Notice. Check them out here.

A range of organisations are ready and willing to assist if you are worried or distressed. Click on the links below for details on:

– Practical COVID-19 support

– Apps supporting your health

– Nearby addiction support

– Support for children, young people and families

– Mental health services

– Health and social care contacts

– Money and mental health

You can, of course, talk to your GP; however, for immediate help if you are in distress of despair, call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000.

You should also keep up to date with COVID-related developments by relying on reputable sources of information, such as the Public Health Agency and NI Direct. MindWise has also published useful advice on how to stay well and stay informed.

We encourage you to follow the professionals’ direction by paying attention to hygiene, wearing a mask, keeping your physical distance from others and taking care of your emotional self.