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improving the lives of people with brain injury

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Staying psychologically well.

The COVID-19 outbreak has led to social isolation and distancing and difficulties accessing services and activities. This can make it difficult to maintain psychological and emotional wellbeing, especially for people already struggling with brain injury. 

Our other support pages offer many helpful tips on staying in touch.  Maintaining a healthy routine and staying active. All of these things can help maintain our psychological wellbeing. Here are some more things to that can help.

First things first…

Please follow the advice of your GP and anyone involved in treating any psychological problems you have. Keep taking prescription medication like antidepressants as prescribed for you and get help if you cannot get your medication yourself.  

You’re not alone!

It is normal for all of us to feel bored, confused, afraid and lonely in a situation like this. Many people also feel angry, anxious, worried or low. Everyone reacts differently to the big changes brought on by COVID-19. This situation and these difficult feelings will eventually pass for most people.

Share your worries and get help if needed.

Our worries can seem unimportant in this crisis. But opening up to others you trust can help them share their feelings too! It is also OK to tell others when you need a break from listening to them or if you don't feel up to talking about things. But please reach out to help for yourself or someone you are worried about: 

Call 111 if you or someone you are worried about needs urgent support for their mental health problems

Call 116 123 for Samaritans for confidential support in a crisis.

Many useful helplines are listed HERE

Do what you value, value what you do!

The COVID-19 situation can make anyone feel out of control. By doing what we can and doing what we value most, we can feel more in control of our lives. At OZC, we draw on approaches like Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to help people live value-filled lives despite their challenges. Russ Harris (2020) provides some excellent ACT-based advice summarised as FACE COVID: 

   F = Focus on what’s in your control

We can control our behaviour (not our feelings or thoughts). So we can choose what we do and how we "anchor" ourselves following the steps below: 

   A = Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings

Acknowledge and be kind and curious towards whatever thoughts, feelings etc. shows up in your experience. Don’t fight or avoid these things and…

   C = Come back into your body

Focus your attention back to your body any way that makes sense to you, such as taking calming breaths, stretching, doing a mindful "body scan" etc. 

   E = Engage in what you’re doing

Refocus your attention on the here and now, whatever you’re doing. What do you see, hear, taste, smell? What are you doing right now? 

   C = Committed Action

After "anchoring" yourself using the steps above, do something in line with your core values; whatever really matters to you. Is there a way of being helpful to someone? Or of doing something you’ve always wanted to do but always put off (call a friend, read a book, take up a hobby etc.). Also connect whatever you're doing to what really matters, for example if you're bored by cooking once again: “I’m cooking this meal because I care for my family and I like improvising". 

   O = Opening Up

Make room for difficult feelings and keep being kind to yourself. Ask yourself: How would I treat / speak to a friend in this situation?

   V = Values

At the heart of staying well is finding meaning in purpose even in a situation like COVID-19. What are the most important values to you (E.g. kindness, humour etc.). There's always a way to live more in line with these values. For example, if you love travelling and adventure, why not armchair travel?

   I = Identify resources

Make a list of your social support network (friends, family, therapists, helplines etc.) and keep in touch! Don’t binge on news, but access a reliable source of information.  

   D = Disinfect and distance physically

Keep following advice to disinfect and socially distance while connecting to our common humanity. We can still smile behind a facemask if we need to wear one!

Make a psychological wellbeing plan and routine

We spend far more time on exercise and diet than we do on a psychological wellbeing plan. Sometimes a crisis like COVID-19 can help us take stock and form a plan to manage our psychological wellbeing. Here are some ideas:

Remember that there’s no pressure on you to do all these things; it should not become yet another chore or something to get angry at yourself about!

Access resources on mental and psychological health

Start here if you are looking for carefully selected resources to help you stay psychologically well:




Although we take every care only to provide the very best resources to our clients and families, we cannot take any responsibility for any difficulties stemming from the use of any of the websites, materials, apps, software etc. offered by third parties. Sometimes links or resources become dated and although we do our best to keep checking that information on these pages are accurate and up to date, we rely on our clients and families to: 

- Let us know if anything is out of date or unhelpful

- Make us aware of additional resources not yet listed here

Please therefore feel free to get in touch via our contact form (see bottom of page) to let us know more about any other resources clients and families like you may benefit from. 




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The Oliver Zangwill Centre

The Princess of Wales Hospital
Lynn Road
United Kingdom

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The Cambridgeshire Mental Health and Primary Care Trust's Charitable Fund. Registered Charity no: 1108920