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How to stay well? How to support others to stay well? Keeping healthy is all about avoiding the virus – and a lot more too. Advice and ideas here for preserving your mental and physical health, and supporting those around you.

A woman stretching on a yoga mat

Send your news to editors@artsprofessional.co.uk or @ArtsPro #CovidCulture

We are collating resources and information we find useful and entertaining but to stay up to date with the latest advice on Covid-19 regarding your physical health please visit the dedicated NHS page and gov.uk page. If you’re are struggling with your mental health there are resources available to you such as Mind, NHS: Every Mind Matters, and Samaritans.

Wednesday 20th May

A new research project is asking creative freelancers and entrepreneurs from across the UK to share the impact Covid-19 is having on their mental health and the health of their careers or businesses. Led by creative consultancy the hub, and created in partnership with the Creative Industries Federation, the survey also asks what kinds of support people would find useful over the coming months. Feedback from the survey will directly inform the scope of BALANCE, a new programme being launched in June, that aims to help creative entrepreneurs and freelancers "balance their minds as well as their books". Complete the survey by 7th June to add your voice to the mix.

Tuesday 19th May

As part of Mental Health Awareness week MIND is encouraging people to #SpeakYourMind and reach out to someone who needs a friend. Share your story, send a positive message or tips for coping, as nobody should have to face the challenges of the pandemic on their own.

The Visual Artists Association has launched #CREATEART4HOPE, a fundraising initiative using art to support Mental Health Awareness week. Everyone who donates will receive art as a thank-you gift from leading British artists. All proceeds will go to mental health charities.  

Monday 18th May

18-24 May is Mental Health Awareness Week and the Mental Health Foundation have produced a guide to how you can get involved and help drive change towards a mentally healthier society for all. The Foundation’s work includes innovative programmes and national campaigns, as well as support for people and communities in need.

Monday 11th May

Creativity and Wellbeing Week, 18 – 24 May, is being adapted in response to the Covid crisis and is offering various participatory routes:  hold an online event, either adapting something planned or doing something new, and upload to the site; share information about what you or your organisation do in relation to arts, health and wellbeing; or describe and provide analogue, offline creative or cultural activities.  The theme for the week is Positive Future offers space for all. 

Tuesday 5th May

Arts 4 Dementia’s Spring 2020 newsletter is highlighting events and campaigns aimed at empowering people through artistic stimulation. Interactive events include Early-stage Dementia Awareness Training for Arts Facilitators on 7 May;  and social prescribing campaigns including ‘Dance for the Brain’ with Siobhan Davies Dance. Sign up to the virtual newsletter for more information or visit their website.

Monday 27th April

             Art4Minds Creative Sharing Circle meets online every Thursday, so you can check in from 7pm for informal discussions around creativity and well-being. Activities will be provided every week for people to do in their own time, with no pressure or commitment. The aim is to promote conversation, collective support, and knowledge sharing.  

Tuesday 21st April

You have until 30th April to respond to the independent Inquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Loneliness, which is gathering views and evidence on how better to tackle loneliness. The Inquiry will explore solutions to policy areas such as funding the voluntary sector and developing community infrastructure. You can take part online or request physical copies or print versions. Contact RasteenBoni@BritishRedCross.org.uk for further information.

Monday 20th April

HEartS (Health, Economic and Social Impact of the ARTs) is asking those who work in the sector to complete a survey which aims to provide insight into the impact of the current public health situation on work, livelihood and the well-being of those who work in the arts and cultural sectors. If you live outside the UK and want to take part, contact the research team at hearts@rcm.ac.uk

Thursday 9th April

The Repeated Assessment of Mental health in Pandemics (RAMP) study is a research project assessing the effect of COVID-19 on the mental health and wellbeing of the population. Since the outbreak started people have undergone major changes to their daily lives, staying away from friends and family, and severely limiting time outside the home. RAMP will monitor the impact of the pandemic across the UK, so that people can be better supported in the future.

Publisher Nosy Crow has released a free information book explaining the coronavirus, and the measures taken to control it,  to children in simple language appropriate for 5 to 9 year olds. Axel Scheffler, illustrator of the Gruffalo, has illustrated this digital book for primary school age children. Written by staff at Nosy Crow, the book has had expert input from Professor Graham Medley of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, two head teachers and a child psychologist.

Wednesday 8th April

The Leapers Little Guide to working well from home under self-quarantine has gathered insights on how best to look after your mental health whilst under these challenging circumstances. They have published an extended downloadable free guide entitled Working Well – The Calm Edition.  

Composer and conductor, John Rutter is offering free themed playlists to keep you feeling positive while listening from your home, including pieces with the theme of birds; music to lift the spirits; and music to celebrate the beauty of growth. His ebulletin includes regular updates on new streaming opportunities.  

Monday 6th April

Struggling, feeling low or would just like an online chat? Then sign up to Elefriends, a supportive online community which offers a safe place to listen, share and be heard. 

Wednesday 1st April

University College London is conducting a survey into the psychological effects of the virus and social distancing. It is looking for people to fill out a 15-minute survey to help track the trajectories of mental health over the coming weeks.

MARCH Network has launched a study into the psychological and social experiences of Covid-19 in the UK. The study aims to understand the effects of social isolation on individuals. The results will be used to track trajectories of mental health and loneliness in the UK over the coming weeks. The study is open to all adults in the UK. Take part here.

The Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance has collated a database of Coronavirus focused resources for arts practitioners and organisations, from funding to fun.

Sound recordist Chris Watson has released two audio walks, shared as a free resource for people self-isolating during the Coronavirus crisis. They offer imaginative access to Highland environments, including a walk through Caledonian Pinewoods in Summer and a walk through the Floe Country in Spring. These can be shared on any platform. 

Monday 30th March

Mencap, the charity dedicated to helping people with learning disabilities, and has created an easy-to-read guide providing information on the coronavirus.

NHS worker Claire Ryan has curated a list of free, online, ‘boredom-busting’ resources for anyone who is feeling frustrated or at a loss while self-isolating.

Friday 27th March

SignHealth has provided a series of sign language videos for the hearing impaired, summarising the key government guidance on how to stay well during the coronavirus crisis.

Thursday 26th March

Music Industry Therapists and Coaches has released a Guide to Anxiety Relief & Self Isolation to help artists and industry professionals keep a healthy mind while self-isolating. It’s a free download put together by MITC founder Tamsin Embleton - a psychotherapist who specialises in work with musicians & music industry professionals.

e-Learning for Healthcare has published an Introduction to Mindfulness in partnership with MindED and NHS Health Education England. This short course provides a foundation for supporting your own mental health but also an introduction on how to support others.

Wednesday 25th March

Creative Freedom, which offers wellbeing support and Mental Health First Aid training, targeted specifically at the creative and cultural sectors, is offering one-hour wellbeing webinars for teams to take some time out and explore ways to stay well, connect and feel good. Contact colin@creative-freedom.org to book your place.

Cornwall-based dance company Freefall has announced a series of online dance classes to inspire people to keep active in their homes. 

Tuesday 24th March

Following the closure of UK theatres, several theatrical charities have joined forces to coordinate their advice services to support with mental health, finance and other issues to those working in theatre. The larger charities will be acting as entry points for enquiries and will recommend alternative support organisations when appropriate.

Book publisher Thames & Hudson is offering free shipping to the UK and Europe to keep our minds engaged while unable to access local book shops.

Monday 23rd March

Health and safety advice for employers and employees working from home, and contractual issues related to the changing circumstances of staff, are available from ACAS. They also advise on the rights of those who do not want to go to work because they're afraid of catching coronavirus.

The Mental Health Foundation has published a series of tips on sustaining your mental health if you have to stay at home. It lists a wide range of services and organisations offering help and support directly to people with mental health problems.

Mental health charity MIND has produced information to help you cope if you’re feeling anxious or worried about coronavirus, or staying at home or avoiding public places as part of social distancing or self-isolation. It includes a checklist for planning for staying at home or indoors, and advice on taking care of your mental health and wellbeing. The NHS has published similar advice.

Comprehensive government guidelines explain how to clean effectively in non-healthcare settings in the workplace or the community. 

The Good News movement is cheering us all up by sharing heart-warming stories of individuals and organisations going above and beyond to support others needing help.