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The coronavirus pandemic has been incredibly tough for us all, and it has had a huge impact on our mental health. From lockdown, to furlough, to the loss of loved ones, we’ve all found ourselves under pressure or anxious at times.

The pandemic has affected us all in different ways, and it is only normal to feel uncertain about what the future holds.

The stress of this uncertainty and the new challenges we have had to face has had an impact on the mental health of many.

With limited contact with our friends, family, community and colleagues, taking care of our mental health and wellbeing has never been more important.

Support is available to help cope with the thoughts, feelings and issues that we are all facing.

#BeNicetoYourNoggin aims to spread awareness of the support is available in our community and how to access it, including a wide range of bereavement and crisis support services available in Havering.

Noggin website banner

The 'noggins' are here to help us express some of the mental health issues we all face, which can often feel dark and unmanageable. They are here to make these issues easier to understand, and to let you know that you are not alone in tackling them.

What do you need help with?

It is understandable to feel worried or anxious as Coronavirus is affecting all our lives. Those of us living with mental health problems are facing extra challenges too.

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Havering MIND have a range of different online and telephone services available, and a member of our team is on hand to have an informal chat with you, and help you decide on the best individual avenue of support for you right now.

Whatever the concern, our experienced Gateway Telephone staff will provide the right support at the right time, by listening and helping with information. We can assess the situation and provide warm signposting to opportunities for mental health prevention, treatment and recovery.

The service is available on 01708 457040 Monday to Friday 9am – 7pm and Saturday and Sunday 10am – 3pm.

The service can also be reached via or and through an online referral form on the website.

There are also many other organisations who are here to help, whatever your concern may be:

Do you require support due to domestic abuse?

Some 1.2 million women and 700,000 men experience domestic violence each year, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Have a think about these statements:

  • Does your partner put you down all the time?
  • Does your ex-partner still try to control everything you do?
  • Does your child regularly make you feel scared and raise their hand to you?
  • Have you noticed that someone you know seems withdrawn and always presents with unexplained injuries?
  • Does your partner take all your wages and control all the finances?
  • Do you feel trapped in a volatile relationship, feeling like there is no way out?
  • She tells me that she only hit me because she drank a bottle of wine last night, but this keeps happening.

If any of these statements resembles your life, then you could be a victim of domestic abuse. Our Domestic Abuse Havering webpage has all you need to know to reach out and seek support.

Visit the Havering MIND website

There are also a number of other services you can access: 

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) - 0800 585858

Anxiety UK – 03444 775774

Havering Samaritans - or 116123

Become (Care Leavers) - 0800 023 2033

Kooth (Ages 11-24) – online Mental health Support (with app)

Visit the Kooth website

Childline – 0800 1111

As we get older, we can often find ourselves with less social interaction which can make us feel lonely, and especially with coronavirus restrictions, many people are experiencing social isolation which can be very damaging for our mental health.

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There are many befriending services both within Havering and nationally that will connect you to someone in later years, clubs & activities, free advice & support, computer & art courses.

What people say about befriending

“Sometimes I don’t speak to anyone else for days”

“Although I have never met the volunteers who phone me, I feel they are my friends”

“My visitor is so cheerful, I always feel better after she comes”

What is telephone befriending?

If you are feeling lonely or isolated, there are many organisations with volunteers on hand who are there simply to have a chat and provide good company over the phone.

They may also be able to provide advice and information on the different services available to you.

Befriending services

Age UK - 0800 470 8090 - has a telephone friendship service so you can enjoy chatting with someone over the phone, all from the comfort of your own home. Whether you’d like to speak to someone every week, or just want to talk when the need strikes, they’re there to help.

Tapestry – 01708 796 600 – matches each person with a volunteer who has a similar outlook on life and common interests to provide companionship to help increase confidence, independence and to keep connected to the local community.

Havering Volunteer Centre (HVC) - 01708 922 214 - has a network of volunteers who are Check in and Chat Buddies (CiCBs) for anyone who needs to hear a friendly voice on the end of the phone once in a while. They also have a Virtual Cuppa every Monday between 11am and 12pm.

Re-engage - 0800 716 543 – provides free ‘call companions’ for older people who live alone and feel they could do with a friendly phone call every week or two.

Independent Age - 0800 319 6789 - will match you to a volunteer whose good company and wants to chat.

The Silver Line - 0800 470 8090 - is a free confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people, open 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Samaritans – 116 123 – offers a safe place for you to talk any time you like, in your own way – about whatever’s getting to you.

Saint Francis Hospice OrangeLine – 01708 758 649 – is open Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, to help local people make connections, start new friendships or simply provide guidance and information.

The restrictions imposed as a result of coronavirus has been difficult for us all.

A change to circumstance and routine can be difficult to adjust to, and you may find yourself struggling to cope with it.

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You may be feeling un-motivated, cranky and frustrated, or you might find yourself crying more than usual, but remind yourself that some days are going to be harder than others.

There’s lots of resources out there that can help teach us about self-care, and how to improve our mental wellbeing.

Sometimes understanding your mental health better can help ease the worry.

Take some time to check out the resources below:

  • Supporting You webinars - Thrive has a huge range of webinars available on YouTube covering a range of topics to help with your mental health.
  • Self-Care - The Mindfulness Initiative has put together this useful guide on mindfulness to help with those who are staying at home due to coronavirus.
  • Mental wellbeing - Visit the Good Thinking website for over 120 online resources for people looking to tackle sleep problems, anxiety, stress and depression.
  • Financial wellbeing - Find out about the wealth of financial support available with Havering Helps.
  • Be active - The NHS guide on exercise provides lots of great tips and information on how to be active and the benefits of being active.


Experiencing mental health issues for the first time, such as anxiety, can be really scary.

As well as worrying thoughts, you may also experience physical symptoms such as feeling sick, dizzy, sweaty or short of breath, which people may not initially relate to their mental health.

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Knowing the symptoms of mental health issues is an important step in understanding what it is, and how to manage it.

The NHS Every Mind Matters website has lots of information on the signs that you may be experiencing anxiety, low mood and stress, and great tips on how to cope with it.

Visit the NHS Every Mind Matters website

You can also contact Havering IAPT on 0300 555 1082.

Visit the Havering IAPT website


Losing a loved one is incredibly difficult in any circumstance, but it has been especially tough for those experiencing grief and bereavement this year.

Missing you noggin

We often rely on those around us for support during difficult times, but with lockdown causing social isolation for many, this has been difficult to do.

It’s important to use one of the many support services available to you.

You may be thinking “nothing can take the pain away, there’s nothing they can do”, but they can provide vital support on how to manage your grief and how to cope with bereavement.

Havering residents have a wealth of local support available that has been developed specifically to help those going through bereavement:

If you have recently lost a loved one, then there are important decisions that need to be made that may feel overwhelming when experiencing grief.

This guide provides important information to help bereaved families, friends or next of kins during the coronavirus pandemic, and takes you through the help and support available.

There has been an increase in unemployment due to the huge strain that the coronavirus pandemic has put on our economy, meaning that many people have either been furloughed and therefore lost part of their income, have lost their jobs or have been unable to continue to work and earn money through their own business.

In any scenario, money worries can be extremely stressful, and can have a negative effect on your mental health.

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It can be easy to feel too overwhelmed and unable to cope, but there is a huge amount of support available to help support you through these difficult times.

We have a wealth of information and support available for those who are going through financial difficulties, as well as our Havering Works service which provides free support for local residents looking to get back to work or explore future career opportunities.

There are also local support services available to help Havering residents with money advice:

If you are in financial crisis, and unable to afford food, then you may be able to get a foodbank voucher that entitles you to three days’ emergency food.

Frontline professionals, such as children’s centres, housing associations, advice charities and mental health teams, are able to assess your needs and provide a voucher if required, or you can give 0808 2082138 a call Monday – Friday between 9am to 5pm to speak to a trained Citizens Advice advisor.

If you require food support, then the following local organisations are here to help:

  • The Trussel Trust have foodbanks in Romford, Harold Hill and Rainham
  • UCC It takes a village – Cranham + Upminster exists to help local people who are struggling through pay it forward schemes, food parcels and charity links.
  • Tapestry provides one off, free meals to individuals in emergencies for those who find themselves unable to access food or cook for themselves. They also now offer a daily service, which can provide you regularly with a 2-course meal for just £5.

Food support

There are foodbanks Romford, Harold Hill and Rainham.

Collier Row food bank

Harold Hill food bank

Rainham food bank

Cranham and Upminster food bank

Other help available

Elm Park - HASWA


Hope 4 Havering

What happens if I contract Covid 19?

You are required by law to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid 19 or are contacted by NHS Test and Trace.

To assist people on low incomes, there is a support payment.

If you live in Havering, have been instructed by the NHS to self-isolate and meet the eligibility criteria mentioned above, please go to the DABD website and fill in the Test and Trace Support Payment form.

If you must self-isolate, are unable to work from home, are losing income, and are claiming qualifying benefits or working tax credit, you are eligible for the £500 ‘Test and Trace Support Payment'.

If you live in Havering, have been instructed by the NHS to self-isolate and meet the eligibility criteria mentioned above, please go to the DABD website and fill in the Test and Trace Support Payment form.

If you’re looking after a relative or a friend who, because of age, physical or other disability, cannot manage at home without help, then you are considered to be a carer.

Carer noggin

This can be a very rewarding role, but a very difficult one too, and there is a lot of support services available to help you.

It’s important to take care of yourself, and this includes your mental health.

If you’re struggling, reach out to one of the specialist services who are on hand to provide the advice needed to help.

Havering Carers Hub is a charity that provides information, support, advice, advocacy and social activities for carers within our borough. (Link missing from website)

For unpaid carers, there is also the charity Carers Trust who work to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring, unpaid, for a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems.

For young carers, Imago runs a specialised young carers service on behalf of the council which supports carers between the ages of 8-18.

Visit the Imago website

If you’re struggling financially or with a lack of support and need urgent access to supplies such as food and medicine, then please give the Havering resident coronavirus helpline a call on 0800 368 5201 between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. They’re also available between 11am to 4pm on weekends and bank holidays for emergencies only.

You can also contact the team at, or call 01708 961 111 for a free key worker counselling line.

NHS and other keyworkers have been under enormous pressure to care for us all during the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s important that they take care of themselves too. NHS in Mind offers free mental health support to all front-line workers in the NHS and other keyworker position.

Mental health professionals, therapists and counsellors are providing 30- or 60-minute sessions online or on the phone to help support, manage stress and anxiety, renew their energy and continue to do the vital work they’re doing

More useful links

Carers Trust

Havering Carers Hub

Visit the HCH weekly support groups page  

Mental health support for frontline workers

If you’re living with a disability or underlying health issues then you may feel isolated or discriminated against, which can be detrimental to your mental health.

The coronavirus pandemic may have been especially difficult for you, with those who are categorised as clinically extremely vulnerable advised to shield.

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It has left many people unable to work, which then has the added stress of money worries.

If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable and are struggling with the worries these restrictions bring, then please visit our advice webpage, for more information on help with money, food shopping and self isolation.

If you’re feeling isolated and lonely, then there are some great organisations in Havering who are there to help:

If you’re living with a disability, then Havering Association for People with Disabilities (H.A.D) provides a broad range of services and activities for people with physical disabilities and carers within Havering.

They work to improve the quality of life, promote independence and meet the physical, emotional and recreational needs of those living with a disability.

For local individuals and families/carers of those who Autistic Spectrum Disorders and/or Learning Difficulties is a part of daily life, then Sycamore Trust is on hand with a range of services specifically designed to support families, educate the community and empower individuals of all ages to flourish and be valued members of society.

PARA Sports also holds weekly virtual activities on Fridays.

Visit the PARA Sports page

There are many functions within the borough that would not be able to continue without the incredible people that give up their time to help people. 

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During the coronavirus pandemic, a huge number of Havering Heroes stepped up to help those in need within the borough.

They ensured the vulnerable members of our community didn’t go hungry or without vital medication, or that those isolating by themselves had a friendly voice to talk to when they were feeling lonely.

Their time often provided a lifeline for our community. 

If you would like to join the Havering Heroes, then The Havering Volunteer Centre is a local charity that will help you find the perfect volunteering opportunity.

There is also several national organisations looking for volunteers to help with their befriending services:

Age UK has a network of local Age UK groups across the country that have opportunities for you to become either an Active Buddy, who helps someone become more physically active, a Befriender, who visits someone who lives alone, or a day centre helper.

Community Network is looking for volunteers to run one-hour phone chat groups.

Contact the Elderly is looking for call companions - volunteers who make regular telephone calls to lonely and isolated older people. These calls provide a lifeline of friendship.

Independent Age will match you to an older person who you can call regularly for a chat.

Help at Havering’s Vaccination Sites

We urgently need 200 Havering Heroes to support the safe and smooth running of vaccination sites at Raphael House, Pettits Lane and Hornchurch Library from 18 January 2021.

The volunteer roles are: 

  • Guide elderly residents to the entry point of either Raphael House, Pettits Lane and Hornchurch Library 
  • Remind folk to keep socially-distanced and to wear face masks
  • Support flow through the buildings
  • Observe people who have been vaccinated for the customary 15 minutes
  • Support residents to exit the building safely

There are 3 ways to volunteer:

  • Register your details and availability on Havering Community Hub Havering Volunteer App
  • Contact Havering Volunteer Centre via email ( or phone (01708 922214)
  • If you already volunteer for a local charity, contact, tell them you want to help with the vaccination sites 

Once you have registered your interest, a vaccination site coordinator will be in touch with you.

The Havering Volunteer Centre is a local charity that will help you find the perfect volunteering opportunity.

There are also several national organisations looking for volunteers to help with their befriending services.

Age UK has a network of local groups across the country that have opportunities for you to become either an Active Buddy, who helps someone become more physically active, a Befriender, who visits someone who lives alone, or a day centre helper.

Community Network is looking for volunteers to run one-hour phone chat groups.

Contact the Elderly is looking for call companions - volunteers who make regular telephone calls to lonely and isolated older people. These calls provide a lifeline of friendship. 

Independent Age will match you to an older person who you can call regularly for a chat.

Please note that this page will be updated with details of mental health awareness and wellbeing events as part of the #BeNicetoYourNoggin campaign in the coming weeks.

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Follow Havering Council on social media for the latest updates.

Visit Havering Council's Facebook page

Follow Havering Council on Twitter

Visit Havering Council's Instagram profile 

Sign up to our Havering email updates

YoungMinds is a charity dedicated to helping children, and young people up to the age of 25, with their mental health, and they have dedicated support for parents who are worried about their child’s mental health, including a parents guide to support A-Z and their free Parents Helpline.

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You can call for free on 0808 802 5544 between 9.30am to 4pm Monday to Friday, or you can use their email or webchat service instead.

If you’re worried that someone you know may be feeling suicidal, but unsure on how to help, then you may find CALM’s 5 steps to help a mate useful.

It’s important for us all to be aware of the typical warning signs that someone may not be OK, which you may not necessarily relate to a mental health issue, so that we can look out for our loved ones.

Samaritans explains what to look out for when you're worried about a loved one, and how to support them.

Our elderly loved ones can often suffer from loneliness, and so it’s important to look out for them as much as we can. If you’re worried about an older person that you know, then Age UK has suggested five practical ways to help older people during this time.

Is someone you know suffering from a mental health issue such as anxiety, paranoia or eating problems? Mind has information on how to help someone else on a huge range of topics.

With non-essential businesses having to close, and a limit on the activities that can go ahead with coronavirus restrictions, it has been an incredibly difficult time for local business owners.

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Are you worried about the financial strain coronavirus has had on your business? Or perhaps you’re feeling overwhelmed trying to navigate your way through the different types of financial support available and the different restrictions that you need to abide by to operate safely?

This can all be very stressful and be damaging to your mental health, but it’s important to remember to look after your business’s most important asset – you.

Visit our coronavirus support for businesses page for help with business grants, how to operate safely and more.

We also have a Covid 19 business helpline, which you can call on 0345 017 0743 Monday to Friday, between 9am and 4pm, or you can send an email to

Mental Health at Work has put together this useful toolkit for small businesses and the self-employed on how to take care during the pandemic.

If you’re feeling stressed it’s important to look after yourself, and to learn how to manage it. Mind has a guide on how to manage stress that also explains what stress is and why it affects us physically, to help you understand what you may be experiencing.

With more of us spending time at home and online, many of us feel compelled to conduct research ourselves.

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The issue is that when people are under heightened stress and they want to resolve uncertainty, we can lose our ability to judge information effectively.

This means we may not be able to recognise reliable information, especially when search engines and social media are engineered to prioritise content that is popular over content that is factual.

Conspiracy theories tend to be grounded in unusual coincidences or misunderstood science, and they use highly emotional language to appeal to others.

If you are finding it difficult to know where to turn for the facts, there are helpful resources to support you.

Full Fact is the UK's independent fact checking organisation, which checks and corrects facts reporting in the news as well as claims which circulate on social media.

The Act Early website helps young people stay safe online via social media and through online games and helps communities report online graphic or violent extremist material.

King’s College London have a helpful blog called “Investigating the most convincing Covid 19 conspiracy theories” by Clinical Neuroscience PhD student, Anna McLaughlin, which provides helpful links to resources to debunk the flawed science behind the most convincing Covid 19 conspiracy theories.

Contact Havering Council’s Community Resilience Team, who monitor online safety and provide information from trusted sources to protect Havering residents, via emailing

#BeNiceToYourNoggin resources

We have produced a number of #BeNiceToYourNoggin resources from email banners to posters for you to download.

Go to the resources folders

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