Mental wellbeing during coronavirus (COVID-19)
Sources of online support during the coronavirus outbreak.
- Every Mind Matters – mental wellbeing while staying at home on the NHS website.
- Every Mind Matters – coronavirus anxiety tips on the NHS website.
- A guide to a good sleep (pdf format, 1.4Mb) and free access to expert guidance on sleep and mental health with Sleepio - a digital sleep improvement programme.
- Gov UK guidance for the public on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus. This includes guidance for people with existing mental health conditions.
- Gov UK guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak. This includes guidance for children and young people with learning disabilities, autism and physical health conditions.
Support and help for suicidal or self-harm thoughts
Are you are experiencing suicidal feelings or thinking about self-harm? The following partners can help you:
Public Health England Every Mind Matters
Public Health England Every Mind Matters. Having good mental health helps us relax more, achieve more and enjoy our lives more. We have expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing. Answer an interactive quiz to get top tips and advice for you on mental wellbeing.
- be active
- take notice
- keep learning
Mental wellbeing needs assessment
We’ve been looking at wellbeing across the county, what people’s needs are and what we can do to improve it. See our mental wellbeing needs assessment animation to find out how we are planning to help residents.
Read an accessible version
Mental wellbeing needs assessment
A partnership is working out how we can do more across Oxfordshire to support and improve mental wellbeing for all.
Mental wellbeing is about getting the most from life, staying well, and feeling connected to those around you and where you live.
The partners are:
- Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group
- Vale of the White Horse District Council
- Elmore Community Services
- Connection Floating Support
- Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
- Oxfordshire County Council
- Healthwatch Oxfordshire
- Cherwell District Council
- Rethink Mental Illness
- Oxford City Council
- Active Oxfordshire
- Oxfordshire Mind
- West Oxfordshire District Council
- South Oxfordshire District Council
- Age UK
We have looked at four things that have a real impact on mental wellbeing, as well as wider factors in our communities that affect how we stay mentally well.
- Someone’s financial situation
- Their activity levels
- Their access to and use of green spaces
- And their connection to others
We know everyone is different and respond differently to life’s challenges.
But we know across the county some people don’t have the same opportunity to be as healthy as others, and that we have hidden local issues.
We want to provide information to help identify and target where support is needed, how it needs to be delivered and who needs it the most.
Identifying the challenge
- Even before COVID-19, 1 in 5 Oxfordshire residents when surveyed said that they had felt anxious the day before.
- Statistically, girls have lower mental wellbeing than boys.
- National figures suggest that those who are middle-aged, those who are unmarried, and with long-term health conditions are more likely to be lonely.
- Young people (age 16-24) are more likely to report being lonely than any other adult age group. It is the younger renters, with less of a sense of local belonging who are most likely to experience loneliness.
- Feeling of happiness and worth decrease in those over 80 or 85 years. Those who are more likely to be lonely are widowed older homeowners, living alone.
- Across Oxfordshire, poor health, living with a disability and older age are identified barriers to accessing green spaces which we know improve mental wellbeing.
- Most visits to natural spaces across Oxfordshire are made by those who identify as being white and from more wealthy families.
The effect of COVID-19
COVID-19 has further increased the impact of these experiences.
- Teenagers are most likely to struggle with sleep and feel lonely. During the first lockdown, 41% of Oxfordshire pupils in year 13 (age 17-18) reported being too worried to sleep.
- In December 2020, compared to the same point in 2019, the number of 16-24 year olds claiming unemployment benefits more than tripled.
- Female students with experience of food poverty, who were preparing for exams, or who had previously accessed support were most at risk of reduced mental wellbeing (across southern England)
- In the last two years, the largest decline in physical activity was amongst less wealthy families and those from black backgrounds.
- Many of us went online for work and to socialise, but Age UK reported nearly 2 million over 75s across the country remained digitally excluded.
- Isolation, particularly for older residents, is likely to have had multiple impacts on physical wellness, strength, mobility and social confidence.
All of these can impact mental wellbeing.
Where do people turn
Residents from some of Oxford’s more diverse and newer communities were asked about their views on wellbeing and who they turned to for support.
- 87% turn to friends and family
- 58% to a faith leader or spiritual support
- 30% turned to their GP if worries became too much
- 35% would like support with mental health
But the survey also showed
- 60% said they would like help managing stress
- Only 4% would ask for specific mental health support from professionals.
Link to video: https://youtu.be/4cs51ejZZIk
And according to a survey of 8-18 year olds.*
*Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Merseyside and Buckinghamshire
- Nearly 1 in 5 students are experiencing significant mental health difficulties and find it hard to get help.
- 1 in 5 reported feeling lonely most of the time.
- 1 in 12 year 9 (13-14) students said they had been bullied in the past year.
- Most are worried about how they look.
- Around 1 in 5 students are worried about having enough money to pay for food or living costs.
- 1/3 of students spend over four hours a day on social media.
Where do young people turn for support?
Their support networks are mainly local. Parents and carers, friends, school and online organisations.
The way forward
It is possible to make a difference.
We know that communities and partnerships working together and putting mental wellbeing at the heart of policies and planning is the solution.
We need to understand more about need. Local level community data means we can better understand issues and use it to inform plans.
We need to reach those in need at key life points and before they access formal healthcare. Less access to support can mean people also don’t use what is available. We need to reach people at specific ages or certain life stages that need support before they access formal healthcare.
We need to build back fairer from COVID-19. Understanding the full effect of COVID-19 on mental wellbeing will help us improve understanding and remove the barriers to access.
A great opportunity for change
Across the county, many initiatives already provide practical and emotional support to help.
Our work will bring communities and best practice together to deliver a fairer Oxfordshire – building on those that exist and adding and supporting others to bridge the gaps we identify.
Move Together. Move together has supported those who have been shielding as well as people with long term health conditions.
The sleep campaign. Delivered by Oxfordshire Communications Group it looked at the impact of COVID on us and how it affected our sleep. It was aimed at frontline professionals and volunteers.
Active Oxfordshire. Active Reach has been supporting residents facing barriers to activity across the county, including in Blackbird Leys, Greater Leys and Banbury.
Style Acre. Delivers a buddying programme to adults with learning disabilities, promoting wildlife and nature activities.
Cherwell District Council in partnership with Oxfordshire Mind and Resilient Young Minds. Delivers a programme working with primary school children in year five and six to help them understand more about stress, anxiety and self-esteem.
Get help, information and support for mental health and wellbeing.
Local support services
- For more information on mental wellbeing and mental health support services in Oxfordshire visit Oxford Safe Haven and Talking Space Plus.
- Family Information Service.
- The listening centre. Counselling service for those on limited income.
- Oxford Women's Counselling Centre. Counselling for women in Oxford by women counsellors.
- The Isis Centre. Free counselling and psychotherapy available on the NHS for anyone over 18 and living in Oxfordshire. Address: Dartington House, Little Clarendon Street, Oxford OX1 2HS. Tel: 01865 556648
- Oxfordshire Relate Centre. Relationship counselling available via several centres in Oxfordshire.
- Oxford Cruse. Counselling for people affected by bereavement.
- Riverside Counselling Service. A charity that provides affordable counselling and psychotherapy to adults living in and around Henley-on-Thames.
Suicide, mental health and wellbeing strategies in Oxfordshire
As part of new partnership groups and plans, organisations across Oxfordshire are committed to:
- making prevention a priority for improved mental health
- reduced suicide and self-harm.
The Mental Health Prevention Framework - 2020-2023 (pdf format, 871Kb). The framework outlines how organisations are plan to work together for everyone in Oxfordshire. To have the opportunity to achieve good mental health and wellbeing. It will focus on:
- working with partners across the system
- insight and evaluation
- creating confident professionals
- resilient communities.
The Suicide and Self Harm Prevention Strategy - 2020-2024 (pdf format, 4.2Mb). The strategy represents the combined work of the Oxfordshire Suicide Prevention Multi-Agency Group and residents’ views. It focuses on:
- suicide safer communities
- frontline professionals and settings
- accessible support for those bereaved by or with experience of suicide
- a strong integrated prevention network.