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Coping with self-isolation

Thu 19 Mar 2020

Recent guidance from the UK government on managing Covid-19 (Coronavirus) infections will see many brain injury survivors, their families and friends self-isolating in order to control spreading of the disease as much as possible.

While these measures are the most sensible approach, self-isolation can leave people feeling lonely, anxious or frustrated.

Furthermore, brain injury survivors who rely on practical or social support from carers and friends may find that they are presented with new challenges.

Here we share some tips for coping with a period of self-isolation.

Stay connected

Use phones, email and social media to stay connected with friends, family and colleagues. You could even use this time to catch up with people who you have maybe not had a chance to speak to for a while. Have conversations with people daily and try to talk about things other than Covid-19.

Check up on one another

If you know someone who may be struggling, for instance if you know anyone who is vulnerable, or has mental health issues, get in touch with them and ask them if there is anything that they need, or if they just want a chat. Remember that it’s okay for you to ask for this help too if you feel like you are struggling.

Avoid over-checking the news

Try to avoid checking the news too often or over-researching, as this can lead to unnecessary anxiety. The most important news will be featured on the NHS website at www.nhs.uk and the UK government website at www.gov.uk, so if you need an update, a quick check on these websites should suffice.

Call our helpline

Our helpline is still available to support people affected by brain injury. If you have a question about brain injury, or just need some emotional support, you can call the helpline on 0808 800 2244 (Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm) or email at helpline@headway.org.uk.

Seek support online

Joining an online community, such as Headway HealthUnlocked, can allow you to connect with other brain injury survivors and carers from your home. You can use HealthUnlocked to ask questions about brain injury, or simply talk to others affected by brain injury and get emotional support. Several area-specific Facebook groups have also been set up to offer support for people self-isolating due to Coronavirus.

Have things delivered to your door

If you need grocery items, or medication, you can either order these online or ask for family, friends or neighbours to pick them up for you – however, if you are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19, your items should be left at your door for you to pick up.

Coping with the effects of brain injury

If you are feeling unwell, you may find that some of the effects of your brain injury such as fatigue, memory problems or psychological effects are worsened. Use coping strategies to manage the effects of your injury where possible, and rest as much as you can. More information and suggestions for coping tips are available in Headway’s booklets and factsheets, available through our Information Library. Other tips on looking after yourself are available on the NHS website.

Find alternative local Headway support

Be aware that many Headway groups and branches will not be running services during this time, however they may have alternative plans in place. Contact your local group or branch to find out more. 

Contact your bank and seek debt advice

If your financial situation may be affected by self-isolating, for instance if you are unable to work during this time, contact your bank. Many banks are encouraging customers to get in touch if they are concerned about the impact Covid-19 may have on their financial situation, and it is better to have this discussion sooner rather than later. Other sources of advice if you have financial concerns are Citizens Advice and Turn2Us.

Contact your local authority

If you are receiving care or support from your local authority, and are not sure how this might be affected, stay in touch with them for regular updates.


Further useful guidance and tips for coping during this time is available on the gov.uk website

Find out more about how Headway can support you, and access useful guides on our main Coronavirus page

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Headway - the brain injury association is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (Charity no. 1025852) and the Office of the Scottish Regulator (Charity no. SC 039992). Headway is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England no. 2346893.

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