Stay informed

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it's important to have the right information. Getting news from unreliable sources can make you feel more upset and anxious, which is unhelpful when it comes to mental wellbeing. Reliable sources, like the NHS and the Scottish Government, will help you to stay calm and safe.

NHS 24

Go to these sources first for health questions. If you have mild symptoms, or you’re worried about being at risk, you can get online advice without needing to phone.

Our coronavirus page

Remember, NHS 24 can’t provide individual mental or physical health advice on social media. If you need help, phone 111. If it’s an emergency, phone 999.

NHS 24 on Twitter

NHS 24 on Facebook

The Scottish Government

The Scottish Government provides advice and sources of help for businesses, parents, people travelling, and volunteers.

Information on coronavirus from The Scottish Government 

The Scottish Government on Twitter

The Scottish Government on Facebook

Ready Scotland

Ready Scotland is the official channel of the Scottish Government’s Resilience Division. It provides advice on finding extra support, and the help available for community groups. You can also find information on helping in your community and the best ways to shop responsibly. 

Information on coronavirus from Ready Scotland

Ready Scotland on Twitter

Ready Scotland on Facebook

Remember, when things are stressful it can be helpful to take a break from the news. Take some time to focus on looking after yourself and the people with you.

Create a healthy routine if you have to stay home

Even if you’re working from home, staying indoors can lead to changes in your routine. This can have a negative effect on your mental wellbeing. Try to create a daily routine that helps everyone in your home to keep a sense of calm and order.

You could:

  • develop a routine for getting up and going to bed - The Sleep Council offers more information on getting a good night’s sleep so you feel alert and more positive during the day
  • eat meals at regular times - BBC Food has recipes to try when you’re staying home and don’t have access to the ingredients you usually use
  • set time aside for quiet personal time as well as shared activities - you could read, listen to music, start a diary, or do some relaxation exercises
  • stay active – make a list of all the things you’ve been meaning to do at home and start working through it
  • exercise at home, if possible
  • try playing a video game with friends online, or playing board games and cards with the people staying with you
  • schedule times to catch up with friends, just as you would if you were going out to meet them - there’s more information on staying connected later in this article
  • try learning something new – there are free courses available on the OpenLearn website, suitable for all ages and education levels

More resources for a healthy home routine

Age UK has a lot of information on maintaining your mental and physical wellbeing at home, including different activities you can do without leaving the house. They also provide a video with exercises that older people can do safely.

Young Minds has useful tips and resources for caring for your mental wellbeing while staying home.

NHS.UK has a series of 10-minute workouts you can do at home without equipment.

Active Nation offers an app with free home workouts.

Parent Club can help parents with everything from learning at home to finding reliable information about coronavirus and children.

The Mental Health Foundation has specific advice for taking care of yourself and creating a routine while we all need to stay at home.

Schools, colleges, universities and many workplaces will be sharing resources – stay in touch with them through phone, email, or their recommended channels.

Stay connected if you have to stay home

There are a number of free apps and websites that allow you to stay in touch with friends and family using any kind of mobile phone, computer, laptop, or tablet.

These include:

  • WhatsApp – this app can be used for texting, voice calls, video calls, sending pictures and videos, and voice messages
  • Messenger can be used for texting, voice calls, and video calls - it can also be used to play games and send pictures, videos, and voice messages
  • Skype can be used for voice and video calls, as well as online chat and sending pictures and files
  • Zoom can be used for voice and video calling – you can invite people to join you on a video call by sending them a link

Older people can get help and advice about using these apps from the Age UK site, which features instructions and tutorials as well as tips on staying safe.

Social media

Social media can help you stay connected with loved ones during this difficult time, but it can also cause you to feel more stressed. Make sure to take regular breaks from social media so you don’t get overwhelmed.

Young people can find advice on staying safe and mentally well while using social media on the Young Minds site.

Other ways to stay in touch

There are other ways to stay connected if you’d like to take a break from the internet. Try writing a letter to someone you haven’t seen in a while, or sending a postcard. Even just picking up the phone and calling someone for a chat is great for your mental wellbeing, and will help both of you to feel less alone while staying home.

Finding support

Urgent advice: Urgent help

If you’re experiencing a mental health crisis and you’re already receiving help from your GP, phone your GP or care team first. If you’re unable to talk to them, phone 111.

If you do not have a care team, phone 111.

If you need an emergency ambulance, phone 999.

Over the phone

Sometimes it’s helpful just to talk to someone, especially if being alone at home is making you feel low.

The NHS 24 Mental Health Hub is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on 111.

You can call the Samaritans 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on 116 123.

The Samaritans also provide information on the effects of coronavirus on mental health.

You can phone Breathing Space for advice and support on 0800 83 85 87. The service is open:

  • Monday to Thursday - 6pm to 2am
  • Friday 6pm to Monday 6am

You can visit the Breathing Space website for some tips on staying connected and other information.

Relationship Helpline

The Relationship Helpline (0808 802 2088) is a free support line providing a safe and confidential space for anyone struggling with their relationship.

They can also provide free relationship counselling if you feel you'd benefit from a bit of extra support. This will either be online or over the phone.

The Helpline is open from 9.00am to 9.00pm, Monday to Thursday, and 9.00am to 4.00pm on Friday.


There are a lot of online resources specifically designed to help you cope with staying home and the stress of the coronavirus pandemic.

SAMH has a lot of resources and information on coronavirus and your mental wellbeing. It includes help with anxiety, OCD, issues for older people and young people, benefits, and coping with distressing news coverage.

Older people can visit Age Scotland to learn more about keeping active and boosting mental wellbeing at this time. You can also phone the Age Scotland helpline on 0800 12 44 222. It’s open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Young people can find a lot of information on coping with the coronavirus pandemic on the Young Scot website.

The Young Minds blog also has a range of resources, and useful advice about how coronavirus can affect young people with different mental health conditions.

Clear Your Head has more information on finding support.

Visit our Coping with money worries page for information on the financial support available to you during the coronavirus pandemic.

For more general mental wellbeing advice, we have a wide range of resources:

Complete a self-help guide for anxiety

Complete a self-help guide for panic

Complete a self-help guide for depression

Explore all of our mental health self-help guides

Learn about managing stress

Learn different ways to improve your mental wellbeing

Get help with your mental wellbeing

Learn about courses and tools that will help you cope with everyday stresses.
Get help with your mental wellbeing