Mental Health Week is a great time to check in with yourself and your family and friends during lockdown. Here are our tips along with some useful tools to help you through these difficult times.

This year Mental Health Awareness week is from 18 to 24 May.

Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, they’ve described how ‘Protecting our mental health is going to be central to us coping with and recovering from the Coronavirus pandemic…’. For 2020 the theme is kindness. Kindness has the power to bring us together as families and societies, and it has a deep connection to mental health.

It’s natural to worry during these uncertain times. However, simple acts of kindness to both others and to yourself can make a big difference. So here’s a run-down of our favourite mental health mind plan, apps, and some general tips to boost your wellness and positivity.

If you feel that your mental health worries are becoming more serious, then please contact your GP. You’ll also find helplines for the Samaritans, Shout Crisis and Anxiety UK at the end of this article.

Every Mind Matters Campaign

Public Health England launched their Every Mind Matters campaign last October. We’re committed supporters of their goal to improve the nation’s mental health, especially right now.

Wellbeing apps

Stop, Breathe & Think: free on Android and iOS

This is a great app if you’ve been thinking about incorporating meditation into your daily routine. Mindfulness is a really useful tool, and not only for those of us who experience feelings of anxiety or depression. There are around 19 free meditations that you can try. And they’ve also launched a new category called Calm Coronavirus Anxiety with a selection of premium tracks. So, it’ll help you to feel more connected, less stressed and it’s free for the next 60 days.

Headspace: Available on iOS and Android

Headspace has a mission to improve the health and happiness of the world. Choose from hundreds of guided meditations, articles, animations and videos. If you’re unemployed, you can use Headspace Plus free for 1 year. But they’re also offering some free meditation to support everyone at this time. In Weathering the storm, you’ll find mindfulness content for anxiety and sleep as well as movement exercises.

If you fancy checking out one of their live meditations, they’ve also launched Everybody Headspace. This new feature streams a mediation every half hour. Plus, it helps users from all over the world feel a sense of togetherness.

Depression CBT Self-Help Guide: free on Android

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT is all about talking about your feelings. And it helps you to manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave.

CBT is based on the idea that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, and actions are all connected. Therefore, it supports you to deal with overwhelming issues by breaking them down into smaller, more manageable parts.

The Depression CBT Self-Help Guide is a toolkit you can use to help monitor your mood. It includes audio tracks on relaxation techniques, depression, and emotion. There’s a cognitive thought diary too. Use it to track your mood and focus on positive thoughts and behaviours.

Aaptiv: available on iOS and Android

Exercise. We know it’s essential to keep our body in tip top condition. And it’ll release those feel-good hormones that help to lift your mood.
If you’ve not been doing much exercise in lockdown, the thought of starting up again can be daunting. But with Aaptiv, you can work out wherever you like – at home, in the garden or your local park.

Aaptiv’s team of certified trainers guide you through audio workouts that have been perfectly synced with motivational playlists. From running, strength training, yoga, and meditation, there’s something for everyone. All the classes range from beginner to advanced levels too, so you’re free to go at your own pace. Plus, they offer a free trial.

Apps for kids

There are some great apps for kids of all ages too. Here’s a selection of the best ones.

Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame Street: free on Apple and Android

Your 2 to 5 year old will love helping their Sesame Street monster friend to relax with a series of fun animated tasks. The app will also teach them the ‘Breathe, Think, Do’ strategy for solving problems. There are 5 interactive activities, all with an everyday challenge to solve.

Headspace for kids: free for Headspace subscribers

Headspace for kids teaches children how to be healthy and happy through 5 main themes. These are Calm, Focus, Kindness, Sleep and Wake up. Kids will learn the basics of mindfulness with breathing exercises, visualisation techniques and some focus-based meditation. There are sessions for 5 years and under, 6 to 8 and 9 to 12.

ThinkNinja: free during the Coronavirus crisis on Apple or Google Play

This app is specifically for 10 to 18 year olds. It helps them become more aware of their mental health and emotional wellbeing and gives them tools to build up their resilience. There’s also a section with Coronavirus content which gives young people support in dealing with their anxiety or stress during this time.

The BBC Own It app: free on Apple and Google Play

Designed for 8 to 13 years olds who have their first smartphone. Own It helps kids keep control of their online life, make smarter choices and stay safe. It can also record how your child is feeling and react to what they’re typing into their phones. Sometimes it’ll display suggestions, like a link to a CBBC page or it may suggest that they speak to a trusted adult.

Three Good Things: free on Apple

Although it’s only available on iOS, this app is worth a mention.  It’s based on research which says that writing down 3 positive things every day can boost happiness. Each day the app will remind your child to write down 3 good things that happened. It’s great for helping kids to feel appreciation and to train their minds to look for the positives rather than the negatives.

Social Connection

As the weeks go by, having a chat with family and friends has never been more important. FaceTime and Zoom calls have become the brand new social events. To keep the conversations flowing and add some fun, why not try a new online tool? Table Talk gives you question ideas to start up some great conversations. Use Ikaria to host your own online yoga or a cooking event. Cocoon lets you set up a private space to share thoughts, photos, messages and ideas with the special people in your life.

Are you missing your nights out? Invite your buddies to a live stream concert or have a virtual house party with the Houseparty app. There are even virtual arts and culture tours you could do with a friend or family member.

Finding creative ways to stay connected and show some kindness, will keep your spirits up and stop you from feeling lonely. We’ve also got some great home entertainment offers exclusively for our customers.

Helping others

Volunteering is another fantastic way to feel good about yourself and help others. If you’d like to offer support to an elderly or vulnerable person in your community, then look up Covid-19 Mutual Aid-UK .They’ve got thousands of groups across the country, so you’ll be able to find one close to you.

We at Three love to spread a little kindness too. Recently, we donated connected tablets, phones and SIMs to a number of organisations. Some of these include the Royal Free Hospital and Centrepoint. We’ve helped critically ill patients speak to their families and get Broadband into homes without internet. Making sure people can keep in touch with loved ones is a simple way for us to offer our support. Each month, we also give £500 to 5 charities in our Community Fund as chosen by our employees.

How we can support you

If you’re worried about paying your bills, have a read over our Helping you pay your monthly bill. Live Chat or call us on 333, we’re always happy to listen and help.

Other organisations that can help

To contact the Samaritans, you can call 116 123 or for crisis support Text Shout to 85258. Anxiety UK also provides a Live Chat messaging service.