Last Updated 9:54am, 1 September 2020
Protecting you and your family against coronavirus (COVID-19)
There are a number of measures we can all take to protect ourselves and others against coronavirus.
- wash hands – keep washing your hands regularly
- cover face – wear a face covering over your nose and mouth in enclosed spaces
- make space – stay at least a metre away from people not in your household
For full details of what to do please see our Protecting yourself and others from COVID-19 page.
In addition to these measures, looking after and improving your overall health will give you the best chance of remaining healthy and well.
General wellbeing, lifestyle and physical health
Devon’s healthy lifestyle service One Small Step are still working to support you make changes to improve your health. They offer online tools and resources, and where normally face to face support is available, currently they offer telephone support to help stop smoking, become and stay physically active, maintain a healthy weight and reduce alcohol intake. Their health trainers can offer you individual support to help make a plan, set goals and get results.
Stop smoking support
There has never been a more important time to try to quit smoking to protect yours and your family’s health.
Smoking is detrimental to the immune system, making smokers more vulnerable to infectious diseases and also at greater risk of health problems such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
The best thing a smoker can do is to quit, to protect themselves, their family and others.
Recovery from ill health is quicker as a non-smoker, and the benefits from quitting start from the moment you stop. After 20 minutes your pulse goes back to normal, after 8 hours oxygen levels return to normal and after 48 hours carbon monoxide is eliminated from the body.
Even if you’ve tried before, don’t give up on quitting. Our One Small Step service is here to help you come up with a plan, discuss nicotine replacement options and support you directly through the process.
All services are still available but currently being delivered remotely, so get in touch to see how they can help.
Maintaining a healthy weight
A new Public Health England (PHE) report has confirmed that being obese or excessively overweight increases the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.
You’re no more likely to catch it if you’re obese or overweight, but statistically you’re more likely to become seriously ill from it than someone with a healthy body mass index.
Getting support to lose weight
In Devon our One Small Step service is a great place to start if you want to lose weight. Their Health Coaches work with you to agree an action plan and set goals to help with healthy eating and weight loss. See Healthy Weight section of their website, or call them on 01392 908139
There’s also a range of free tools and apps that everyone can use, to help us eat better, drink less alcohol and be more active.
The NHS Better Health website has all the information, plus how to get the new app for the free 12-week NHS Weight Loss Plan.
You can also self-check your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by using Diabetes UK’s ‘know your risk’ tool. Those living with diabetes face a significantly higher risk of dying with COVID-19.
It is more important than ever to stay active at the moment, not only is it good for our physical health but can really help our mental wellbeing as well. To support us staying at home many new resources have been made available to enable us to stay active whilst staying home.
Public Health England’s Active at Home advice
Public Health England has developed a guide to being active at home to support older people and those who are shielded to be active and healthy at home by helping them find ways to build activity into their day.
It’s part of the Sport England Join the Movement campaign designed to provide inspiration and trusted information to the public about how to get active in and around the home during the coronavirus pandemic.
Stay In Work Out
Sport England have launched a Stay In Work Out campaign. It gives tips, advice and guidance on how to keep or get active in your home. It has links to a range of websites and apps that are offering access to a whole range of different activities.
One You – home workout videos
There are videos to support working out at home including cardio fitness, strengthening and a cool-down.
NHS Fitness Studio videos
This site gives 24 different instructor led videos to try from home. They range from 10 – 45 mins and categories include aerobic exercise, strength and resistance, Pilates and yoga, and if you fancy something a little different it even includes belly dancing for beginners!
Active Devon are a community focused, non-profit organisation supporting people to be physically active in Devon. They have links to articles and resources for getting active including during the restriction around COVID-19.
Emotional wellbeing - adults
The last few months have undoubtedly been a challenge for a lot of people. Many people who have been shielding may feel nervous at the idea of going back outside to take up ‘normal’ activities. Help is still available for anyone who needs it though, so if you’re feeling anxious, low or are having trouble sleeping for example, please don’t suffer alone.
Staying connected to family and friends
Draw on support you might have through your friends, family and other networks. If you can’t (or don’t feel comfortable or safe) meeting them face to face now try to stay in touch with those around you over the phone, by post, or online. You may find it helpful to talk to them about how you are feeling.
Remember it is OK to share your concerns with others you trust and in doing so you may end up providing support to them too. Or you can use a NHS recommended helpline.
Five steps to mental wellbeing
Evidence suggests there are five steps you can take to improve your mental health and wellbeing. Visit the NHS website 5 steps to mental wellbeing. Trying these things could help you feel more positive and able to get the most out of life.
Every Mind Matters
The Every Mind Matters campaign has been developed by Public Health England and recognises having good mental health helps us relax more, achieve more and enjoy our lives more. It provides expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing and has specific information relating to Covid-19 as well as more general advice.
Public Health England have published some information to support people giving advice and information on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. There is also an easy read version available.
Talkworks is a free, confidential, NHS talking therapy service for people (aged 18+) in Devon (excluding Plymouth), helping you to feel better and giving you the tools and techniques to improve your mental and physical wellbeing. The service can support people who are struggling to cope, feeling low, anxious and overwhelmed by thoughts and feelings. It is open to all in Devon, but they are currently also offering priority support to frontline staff including NHS and social care workers.
Emotional wellbeing - children and young people
The last few months have been a strange and challenging time for many people. Children may respond to anxiety in different ways, such as being more clingy, anxious, withdrawing, sad or angry. It is normal to have such emotions and behaviours if they are worried and it’s important that their we listen to them and reassure them
- Children need adults’ love and attention, and especially during difficult times. Respond to
your child’s reactions in a supportive way. Listen to their concerns and give them extra
love and attention to reassure them
- Keep to regular routines and schedules as much as possible, or help create new ones in a
new environment, including school/learning as well as time for safely playing and relaxing
- Talk to them about the situation appropriate to their age and understanding in an open
and transparent way. Discus the news with them but try and avoid over-exposure to
coverage of the virus, to avoid worrying them too much
Public Health England have produced some guidance for parents and carers
The Mental Health Foundation has some more useful information here about talking to children about scary news.
Local and national services for young people
Kooth provides free online support and counselling for young people aged over 11.
Young people aged 11-19 can text a school nurse for confidential advice and support. Text 07520 631722 for advice on things like relationships, bullying, mental health, self-harm, drugs/alcohol.
Young Devon provide information, advice and counselling for children and young people over 11.
The Mix provides a free confidential telephone helpline and online service for young people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 for free – lines are open from 11am to 11pm every day or access the online community
ChildLine provides a confidential telephone counselling service and advice for any child with a problem. Call 0800 1111 any time for free, have an online chat with a counsellor or check out the message boards
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
CAMHS are offering additional crisis support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. If a child or young person (under 18) is experiencing a mental health crisis, you can now access Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) 24/7. Please contact 03300 245 321 during normal hours (8am-5pm, Mon to Fri) or 0300 555 5000 outside these hours. Callers will speak to a call handler, their call will be forwarded to a voicemail service and their message will be returned within one hour.
There are three CAMHS crisis teams – Torbay and South Devon; Exeter, East and Mid Devon; and North Devon. Your call will be directed to the appropriate team.
In the event of an emergency please call 999.
General information about CAMHS services and referrals can be found on the Children and Family Health Devon website
CAMHS have also produces a list of helpful resources, apps and organisations to support children, families and young people.
As the new school year starts most children will be heading back to the classroom.
Many schools provided work for their pupils during the lockdown. This guidance of online resources for home education was put together to provide links to a range of resources to support children in Key Stages 1-4, with home learning on subjects of English, Maths, Science, PE, wellbeing and for children with special educational needs and disabilities.