Mental health support for people who have been shielding

People in Leeds who have been shielding are being reminded that help is available if they feel anxious or worried about restrictions being eased.

Since March, people who are especially at risk of becoming seriously unwell if they get coronavirus have been asked to self-isolate at home.

From 1 August, the Government ‘paused’ advice to people to shield unless there is a spike in coronavirus cases.

Dr Gwyn Elias, GP and Clinical Lead for Mental Health for NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group said “Being able to return to ‘normal’ life brings longed-for opportunities to see friends and family in real life, go shopping, play sport or get back to work. Children who have been shielding will also be able to go back to school when term begins.

“It will still be important that people take precautions when they go out – wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your face, wear a face covering and stay two metres away from others.

“All this will feel quite strange after so long in isolation, so many people will understandably feel nervous about restrictions easing.

“Feeling cautious is an absolutely normal reaction, but if you’re feeling particularly anxious or overwhelmed, it’s really important to seek help and not bottle things up.

“There are many resources to support mental health and wellbeing for everyone on the NHS Choices website (

“In Leeds, we also have a range of support that people can access, including self-help resources, helplines and crisis services. The starting point is a new mental health support line, which provides confidential support, advice, information and guidance for anyone concerned about their mental health available 24 hours a day.

“The new helpline gives people an opportunity to talk to someone who can help them find the right support. The NHS is still here for you and we have lots of different services in the city that can help.”

Anyone registered with a Leeds GP can call the helpline on 0800 183 0558.

The new service is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and complements mental health services already available in Leeds. These include:

  • Connect – a survivor-led local helpline which offers emotional support and information to people in Leeds every night from 6pm-2am on 0808 800 1212. Connect also provides online support through instant chat for people – Connect specialises in working with people at risk of suicide and self-harm and those with complex mental health needs.
  • MindWell – the mental health website for people in Leeds. The site includes a coronavirus mental health information hub which brings together information about self-help resources for mental health and where people in Leeds can find help for their mental health as well as practical offers of support during the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Leeds Mental Wellbeing Service – is for anyone aged 17+ registered with a Leeds GP and provides support and psychological therapies for common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. The service also provides online therapy courses and self-management tools which are available at any time day and night to help with a wide range of issues including stress and anxiety, mindfulness, depression and bereavement. Help is available immediately through online courses at
  • If you prefer talking therapies you can also refer yourself through the website –
  • Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s (LYPFT) Single Point of Access (SPA) – if you, or someone you’re worried about, needs urgent care or treatment for a mental health crisis call the SPA on 0300 300 1485 (open 24/7, every day).
  • Children and young people can visit the Mindmate website for information and support about their emotional health and wellbeing –

Anyone whose life is in immediate danger should call 999.

Returning to work

If you are concerned about returning to work, please talk to your employer – they must ensure that social distancing measures are in place.

If you are able to work from home then your employer is expected to help you to do so.

Up to date information about coronavirus

To check the latest Government guidance, visit,

For up to date health information, please visit