KATE Middleton and Prince William have launched a £5million scheme today to help Britain's mental health charities during the coronavirus lockdown.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are urging people to follow Public Health England's latest advice to stay in touched with loved ones via video calls and to start a new hobby.
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The royal couple's intervention is part of a government initiative to see £5million awarded to mental health charities in order to expand support services amid the UK epidemic.
Kate and William said: "The last few weeks have been anxious and unsettling for everyone.
"We have to take time to support each other and find ways to look after our mental health.
"It is great to see the mental health sector working together with the NHS to help people keep on top of their mental wellbeing.
"By pulling together and taking simple steps each day, we can all be better prepared for the times ahead."
Minister for Mental Health Nadine Dorries, who has recovered from coronavirus, said: "When I discovered I had coronavirus I felt anxious and scared.
"For those who already suffer with anxiety or other mental health issues this may present new and difficult challenges.
"It’s imperative that we stay home if we are to beat coronavirus and save lives.
"I know how important it is that people have support to look after their mental health and this guidance will be of huge value."
PHE has launched new guidance that was developed with the input of mental health charities and clinically assured by the NHS.
It offers ways to look after you own wellbeing as well as that of children and other dependants during the shutdown.
It also includes tops including how to stay in touch with family and friends, to establish a healthy sleeping pattern and start a new hobby.
The guidance, which is published on PHE's Every Mind Matters page, also has points on how to help children manage stress such as being aware of your own reactions around children and creating a new routine for them.
It also provides support for those already living with a serious mental health problem and explains how get help from mental health professionals amid the lockdown.
PHE said it is issuing guidance to trusts on prioritisation of services and how to maximise use of digital and virtual channels to keep delivering support to patients.
It said NHS mental health providers are also establishing 24/7 helplines.
Mind is one of a consortium of charities preparing to adapt and increase their services.
They are reaching out to vulnerable groups including older adults and people with underlying health conditions, and also anyone experiencing unstable employment and housing conditions.
Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said: "Reaching out to friends and family is critical, as well as paying attention to the impact our physical health can have on our mental health – from diet and exercise to getting enough natural light and a little fresh air."
He added: "Whether we have an existing mental health problem or not, we are all going to need extra help to deal with the consequences of this unprecedented set of circumstances."
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