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Mobile apps can be considered useful in more ways than one. Entertainment, social media and on-demand services have proven to be very useful. Far from being a substitute and more people are turning to apps for self-help and wellbeing covering a huge range of topics that we hope will help and it's paying off. According to research by Accenture, people in the UK are increasingly turning to tech to help them look after their mental health. Around 39 per cent of people said they were using such tools as online services, apps and wearables to manage their stress, improve sleep and boost their mental wellbeing.

Please be aware that some apps will ask you to enter personal health information. Before you provide this, you can make sure the app is genuine and secure by checking the Orcha website which provides reviews and assessments of health apps, including how the app uses and stores your data. A lot of the apps are free, however some do have a charge attached. CommUNITY Barnet does not endorse any particular digital service, including those listed on this page. This is due to the fast-moving nature of digital services which means it's not possible to provide a complete list of online tools, sites and apps. It is your responsibility to decide whether the service you are considering using is appropriate for you.

NHS Tested

The NHS have a range of apps listed, covering Mindfulness, Anxiety and Stress, Panic Attacks, Self Harm, Breathing Techniques, Fitness, Positivity and mich more. These apps have been assessed against NHS standards. 

 A to Z of NHS Apps can be found here

 

Good Thinking 

MyCognition Pro - An NHS-accredited cognitive fitness programme that when used 15 minutes per day optimises your cognitive health so that you can get better at focusing, memorising, strategising and making accurate decisions faster. You can find more information here

My Possible Self - The Mental Health App has been clinically proven to improve the mental health and wellbeing of people living with stress, anxiety and low mood. You can find out more here

Be Mindful -  is a unique, clinically proven and NHS-approved online mindfulness course. It helps people achieve lasting reductions in their levels of stress, anxiety and depression through learning to practice mindfulness techniques in daily life.

 

Mind (Brighton & Hove)

There are now more and more apps out there that can help with anything from managing your general wellbeing to those for more specific health concerns. Listed below are some apps** to get you started. Whist these apps can be useful, they are not a replacement for seeking medical advice if you have concerns about any symptoms you are experiencing.

Mind (Brighton & Hove) suggestions can be found here

 

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Far from being a substitute for therapy, mental health apps have gained a place in today’s culture of wanting help here and now. They are often seen as an adjunct to counseling and an introduction or a ‘step in the right direction’. People with multiple sclerosis (MS) can experience a range of issues and may not be ready to engage with counseling, but still require a level of help, here is where apps can come into their own. We asked MS-UK Counsellor Louise Willis for some of the best tried and tested apps on the market

MS Apps can be found here

 

The Oprah Magazine

The Oprah magazine recommends a variety of apps, we have looked at the free downloads listed below. The full listing can be found here

Smiling Mind - Mindfulness is the goal with Smiling Mind, a free meditation app developed by psychologists and educators that offers a wide variety of programs for all ages. Particularly if you feel anxious about the coronavirus or your kids feel stressed about disruptions to their everyday normal lives, this is an app that will have solutions for the whole family. Free - Download the app here

Insight Timer - It’s easy to find a meditation app that touts a free trial. It’s a lot harder to find a quality meditation app that is in its entirety free. Enter the unicorn of gratis meditation apps: Insight Timer. A multifaceted gateway to more than 30,000 guided sessions that tap into every emotion rattling your nerves, it also offers relaxing music tracks, a section for kids, and therapeutic pep talks from the likes of Indian yogi Sadhguru and psychotherapist Anthony DeMello. Download the app here

 

The Independent 

Seven cups - Feeling isolated? Connect instantly with one of 160,000 trained volunteer listeners and licensed therapists with 7 Cups. The app engages users in anonymous, free, confidential conversations so you can vent about your day or simply hear a human voice. It also gives the option to connect with multiple users and to participate in guided discussions in group support chat rooms. Further information is available here

SuperBetter - Mental illness is not a game, but the app SuperBetter tastefully takes a gaming approach to managing depression, anxiety, chronic illness and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Players earn rewards for completing real-life exercises that help them build positive skills and behaviors like resilience and optimism. Further information is available here

Moodpath - Bills itself as "your mental health companion", screens users for depressive behavior via daily questions designed to increase their awareness of their thoughts and emotions. After 14 days, the app will generate a report about your condition that you can bring to a mental health professional for discussion. More than 150 videos and exercises are available, too. Further information is available

Sanvello for Stress & Anxiety (Pacifica) When anxiety has you tight in its clutches, it can feel like your world is going to end. But Pacifica helps users find a place of peace via psychologist-designed tools. Based on CBT, mood and health tracking, relaxation and mindfulness meditation, the app targets the on-going cycles of negative thoughts that lead to anxiety, stress and depression. Further information is available here

Headspace - Meditation. If you have never meditated before or find it difficult, Headspace is a great place to start. The popular app 62 million people have downloaded this app, which takes you by the hand and leads you through guided meditations and mindfulness techniques to help establish calm and wellness in your life. The free basics course teaches you meditation fundamentals; the full library is accessible via a subscription fee. Further information

Anxiety Relief Hypnosis -  promises to target the subconscious thoughts that lead to anxiety via the power of hypnosis. It features audio read by a certified hypnotherapist, accompanied by peaceful ambient music. After daily use for one to three weeks, users may experience less stress and more relaxation. Find out more here You can find the full listing of wellbeing apps listed on The Independent here

 

The Evening Standard 

Mindscape - is a mental health app launched by creative agency Cult in 2018, combining voice technology, artificial intelligence and science-led music therapy in one handy app. Developed in consultation with mental health charity Mind, the app is aimed at people dealing with panic attacks or anxiety. 

The voice app talks people through relaxing breathing exercises, before asking them questions about their current emotional state. It can offer practical tips for managing work, money, education and sleep and also has bespoke soundscapes tailored to the person using the app. You can use Mindscape through your Amazon Alexa device at home.  Download on Amazon Alexa 

HealthUnlocked CommunitiesOne difficult part of dealing with any health issue is feeling isolated and alone. HealthUnlocked Communities wants to solve this. It’s like a social network of communities, linked by health. Different communities focus on different areas from exercise to anxiety. These communities provide a space for people to meet others going through similar issues, enabling them to receive emotional support in return. Charities and patient organisations monitor the different communities too, to ensure people are sharing the right information. Download the app here

Tomo - Chatbots are a fun way to interact with tech and Tomo is a bot that comes with some hidden benefits. The app enables you to ‘find healthy habits’ and record how you’re feeling, so you can keep track of what’s going on. As you talk to Tomo, it learns about your lifestyle and how you handle challenges and then suggests new habits for you to try. Every time you complete a habit, Tomo invites you to share a photo of your achievement with the community, so you can receive virtual congrats from the Tomo cohort. This virtual buddy system is designed to ensure your habits stick. The app is completely anonymous and not a social network, but instead, a tool to help you take control of your mental health. Download the app here

Drugstars - If you take medication for a condition, it can be tricky to remember the right time and day to take it. DrugStars is an app that reminds you when to take your meds, as agreed with your doctor, and you collect a star every time you do it. In time, you can donate the stars you earn to health charities, which DrugStars then turns into real money.

Not only are you taking your meds on time, but you’re also helping other people in the process. You can donate your DrugStars to the UK-based charity No Panic, which helps people who suffer from anxiety disorders, or Crohns & Colitis UK, which supports people with inflammatory bowel disease. Download on Apple    Download on Google Play

Moodrise is all about "digital nutrition": using positive content to help alleviate pain, boost emotional resilience and improve experiences. The app focuses on six popular mood states, including confidence, focus and happiness, and the related neurotransmitters that lead to that mood state. Content has been specifically created to help deliver the desired chemical reaction in the brain, backed by scientific research. The idea is that people can proactively manage their mental health through "digital pills" to help them enhance their own emotional resilience.  Download on Apple     Download on Google Play to look at the full list of recommended apps by the Evening Standard please click here

A Delicious Indian Meal

Members of The British Bangladeshi Caterers Association are offering a free meal to older people over 70 in isolation. Simply call one of the listed establishments and choose from one of the options presented to you. Your order will be taken and ready for collection by one of your family members. If you have no one to collect, we will arrange a doorstep delivery for you where possible.

Bayleaf Restaurant, 1282-1284 High Rd, Whetstone, London N20 9HH - 020 8446 8671

Bayleaf Takeaway, 1342 High Rd, Whetstone, London N20 9HJ - 020 8446 8999

Woodhouse Tandoori, 219 Woodhouse Rd, Friern Barnet, London N12 9BD - 020 8361 7879

Taste of Nawab, 97 Colney Hatch Ln, London N10 1LR - 020 8883 6429

Thank you to my London News 

Coronavirus Information in Easy Read

You can download it here
 

Coronavirus Information in British Sign Language

BSL video on social distancing and self-isolation
BSL videos by the charity Sign Health.

Updated Coronavirus Advice in Community Languages-More Languages Update Added

Due to the changes made to the NHS advice regarding COVID19 on Monday afternoon, Doctors of the World have updated our Covid 19 translated guidance:

English, Albanian, Arabic, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish are now ready - https://www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk/coronavirus-information/ We have also added more European languages: Polish, Romanian, Russian are ready.

To be updated very soon: Bengali, Dari, Farsi, Hindi, Kurdish Sorani, Mandarin, Pashto, Urdu, Vietnamese, Tigrinya, Amharic, Malayalam, Somali, Bulgarian, Latvian, and Hungarian!

The guidance is based on the NHS and the UK government's updated advice and health information, and we have produced translated versions thanks to the support and assistance of the British Red Cross, Migrant Help, Clear Voice, and the Eastern European Resource Centre. 

Thanks for spreading the resources and we would be happy if you could please continue to share these with your patients, service users and your networks widely so that we reach all communities who would like this crucial information in their own language. We will try to keep these updates these updated as the current advice changes. We very much welcome offers of help from qualified translators.

If you know someone who would find emails on this subject useful, then please do forward this to them. They can subscribe by sending an email to this link (Subscribe) add 'subscribe' in the subject line.

Stay up-to-date on local information here - 

Information coming soon -under construction

Advice for informal carers

If you are caring for someone who is vulnerable, there are some simple steps that you can take to protect them and to reduce their risk at the current time.

Ensure you follow advice on good hygiene such as:

  • wash your hands on arrival and often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • do not visit if you are unwell and make alternative arrangements for their care
  • provide information on who they should call if they feel unwell, how to use NHS 111 online coronavirus service and leave the number for NHS 111 prominently displayed
  • find out about different sources of support that could be used and access further advice on creating a contingency plan is available from Carers UK
  • look after your own well-being and physical health during this time. Further information on this is available here

Look out for your neighbours

The simplest thing everyone can do right now is look out for their neighbours and offer help with shopping and other errands.

It's not just about neighbours who are self-isolating or vulnerable. Other people in the community who might also appreciate help are:

  • stretched medical staff and volunteers
  • staff and volunteers in key worker roles
  • supermarket workers
  • delivery drivers.

Remember it’s a marathon not a sprint – your help will be even more crucial in a few weeks' time. For now, the best thing to do is to check in on neighbours.

Stay safe when supporting others

    1. Let family and friends know what you’re doing.
    2. Support family, friends and neighbours by phone or video call.
    3. Stay at least two metres - about three steps - away from people you’re helping.
    4. Offer to run errands for people but stay outside of people’s homes.
    5. Keep washing your hands often for 20 seconds.
    6. Don’t take on too much - it's often better not to offer at all than to let someone down.
    7. If you’re trying to help someone with very serious issues – don’t be afraid to flag with appropriate statutory services.

Volunteer with organisations providing support

There’ll be more information on the best ways to volunteer in the coming days. Charities are working with the government and local authorities to create ways for people to get involved.

Here are a few suggestions:

The Basics of Mindfulness Practice (Mindful)

Mindfulness helps us put some space between ourselves and our reactions, breaking down our conditioned responses. Here’s how to tune into mindfulness throughout the day:

  • Set aside some time. You don’t need a meditation cushion or bench, or any sort of special equipment to access your mindfulness skills—but you do need to set aside some time and space.
  • Observe the present moment as it is. The aim of mindfulness is not quieting the mind, or attempting to achieve a state of eternal calm. The goal is simple: we’re aiming to pay attention to the present moment, without judgment. Easier said than done, we know.
  • Let your judgments roll by. When we notice judgments arise during our practice, we can make a mental note of them, and let them pass.
  • Return to observing the present moment as it is. Our minds often get carried away in thought. That’s why mindfulness is the practice of returning, again and again, to the present moment.
  • Be kind to your wandering mind. Don’t judge yourself for whatever thoughts crop up, just practice recognizing when your mind has wandered off, and gently bring it back.

That’s the practice. It’s often been said that it’s very simple, but it’s not necessarily easy. The work is to just keep doing it. Results will accrue.

How to Meditate

This meditation focuses on the breath, not because there is anything special about it, but because the physical sensation of breathing is always there and you can use it as an anchor to the present moment. Throughout the practice you may find yourself caught up in thoughts, emotions, sounds—wherever your mind goes, simply come back again to the next breath. Even if you only come back once, that’s okay.

A Simple Meditation Practice

  • Sit comfortably. Find a spot that gives you a stable, solid, comfortable seat.
  • Notice what your legs are doing. If on a cushion, cross your legs comfortably in front of you. If on a chair, rest the bottoms of your feet on the floor.
  • Straighten your upper body—but don’t stiffen. Your spine has natural curvature. Let it be there.
  • Notice what your arms are doing. Situate your upper arms parallel to your upper body. Rest the palms of your hands on your legs wherever it feels most natural.
  • Soften your gaze. Drop your chin a little and let your gaze fall gently downward. It’s not necessary to close your eyes. You can simply let what appears before your eyes be there without focusing on it.
  • Feel your breath. Bring your attention to the physical sensation of breathing: the air moving through your nose or mouth, the rising and falling of your belly, or your chest.
  • Notice when your mind wanders from your breath. Inevitably, your attention will leave the breath and wander to other places. Don’t worry. There’s no need to block or eliminate thinking. When you notice your mind wandering gently return your attention to the breath.
  • Be kind about your wandering mind. You may find your mind wandering constantly—that’s normal, too. Instead of wrestling with your thoughts, practice observing them without reacting. Just sit and pay attention. As hard as it is to maintain, that’s all there is. Come back to your breath over and over again, without judgment or expectation.
  • When you’re ready, gently lift your gaze (if your eyes are closed, open them). Take a moment and notice any sounds in the environment. Notice how your body feels right now. Notice your thoughts and emotions.

Mindful Practices for Every Day

As you spend time practicing mindfulness, you’ll probably find yourself feeling kinder, calmer, and more patient. These shifts in your experience are likely to generate changes in other parts of your life also. Mindfulness can help you become more playful, maximize your enjoyment of a long conversation with a friend over a cup of tea, then wind down for a relaxing night’s sleep.

Try these 4 practices this week, go to Mindful and go through the exercises. 

You might also find it helpful to practice Box Breathing. You can try it out here

Information coming soon

 

Learn a new language 

Food is an important part of our day, getting it right affects our physical and mental health.

 

Read BDA's Top Tips on eating well and spending less here

Read NHS's 8 Tips for healthy eating here

Read Change for Life's fun ideas to help your kids stay healthy here

Read NHS's 20 tips to eat well for less here

Read BHF advice on Healthy Eating on a Budget here

 

BBC Recipes

Budget Dinners BBC Goodfood

Easy Recipes BBC Goodfood

Five Ingredients or less BBC Goodfood

Healthy Recipes BBC Goodfood

Store Cupboard Recipes

 

Olive Magazine

Healthy Recipes in under 30 minutes

Meat and Poultry

One Pot Meals

Vegan Recipes

Vegetarian Meals

 

Food with kids

Change 4 Life 

BBC Food With Kids

Tasty Food With Kids

 

Food for Older People

Age UK Recipes 

Advice on what to cook

Information coming soon

 

Important information about COVID-19 for families with disabled children here

Resources, Resources, Resources. 

Please find below a list of resources that we hope will prove useful while we continue to adjust to the changes that are happening around us. In addition we have listed some safe online practices and additional resources that will help to keep your children safe online. 

Coronavirus: A Book for Children

Online resources:

The Artful Parent - Good, free art activities

ABCya - Educational Games

BBC Goodfood - Kids Baking 

BBC Learning - This site is old and no longer updated and yet there's so much still available, from language learning to BBC Bitesize for revision. No TV licence required except for content on BBC iPlayer.

Beast Academy (Math) - a challenging curriculum for students ages 8‑13. Browse our books, or enroll your student in our new Online Learning Platform.

Big History Project - Aimed at Secondary age. Multi disciplinary activities.

Blockly - Learn computer programming skills - fun and free.

Blue Peter Badges - If you have a stamp and a nearby post box.

British Council - Resources for English language learning

BrainPop - Animated Educational Site for Kids - Science, Social Studies, English, Math, Arts & Music, Health, and Technology.

Cbeebies Radio - Listening activities for the younger ones.

Cool Maths - Games is a brain-training site, for everyone, where logic & thinking & math meets fun & games. 

Curiosity Stream - Screen time doesn't need to be a waste of time. Watch & learn With CuriosityStream®. Expand your horizons with thousands of documentaries & original

Crest Awards - Science awards you can complete from home.

Creative Bug - online video arts and crafts workshops and techniques. Learn how to paint, knit, crochet, sew, screen print, and more.

Discovery Education - is as a trusted partner for schools, supporting them in realising their vision and achieving their goals with curriculum-matched content,

Duolingo - Learn languages for free. Web or app.

DK Find Out - Activities and quizzes

E-Learning for Kids - for children worldwide

Funbrain - games, reading, videos, playground and maths zone

Futurelearn - Free to access 100s of courses, only pay to upgrade if you need a certificate in your name (own account from age 14+ but younger learners can use a parent account).

Geography Games - Geography gaming!

iDEA Awards - Digital enterprise award scheme you can complete online.

Highlightskids - The place for children of all ages to play games and discover new jokes, surveys, answers to science questions, and fun crafts and recipes from Highlights.

Khan Academy - Especially good for maths and computing for all ages but other subjects at Secondary level. Note this uses the U.S. grade system but it's mostly common material.

Literactive - The most comprehensive phonics-based reading program available for early learners.

Math Game Time - free math games, worksheets, homework help & videos for teachers, parents & children. Start enjoying cool, fun math games online

Museum Virtual Visits - Pretend to travel the world..Go on a virtual tour of these 12 famous museums.

Mystery Science - Free science lessons

National Geographic Kids - Activities and quizzes for younger kids.

Openlearn - Free taster courses aimed at those considering Open University but everyone can access it. Adult level, but some e.g. nature and environment courses could well be of interest to young people.

Oxford Owl for Home - Lots of free resources for Primary age

Outschool - 8000+ video chat classes for K-12 science, art, mindfulness, English, social studies, life skills, and more!

Paw Print Badges - Free challenge packs and other downloads. Many activities can be completed indoors. Badges cost but are optional.

Prodigy Maths -Is in U.S. grades, but good for UK Primary age.

Nature Detectives - A lot of these can be done in a garden, or if you can get to a remote forest location!

Red Ted Art - Easy arts and crafts for little ones

Seneca - For those revising at GCSE or A level. Tons of free revision content. Paid access to higher level material.

Scratch - Creative computer programming

Splashlearn - complete Math learning

Stairway -  a free platform to make learning STEM subjects both enjoyable and effective. Interactive lessons targeted to students studying towards their Maths, Physics and Biology GCSE's. Lessons also availbale via an iOS app.

Starfall - At Starfall, children have fun while they learn.

Storylineonline - Storyline Online, features celebrated actors including Viola Davis, Kristen Bell, Chris Pine, Lily Tomlin

Seussvlle - the home of all things Dr. Seuss.

Switchzoo  - you can make new animals, play animal games, build a home, learn about animals, and hear animal music

Ted Ed - All sorts of engaging educational videos

Tinkercad - All kinds of making.

The Imagination Tree - Creative art and craft activities for the very youngest.

The Kids Should See This - Wide range of cool educational videos

Toy Theater - Educational online games

Turtle Diary - Play educational kids games, computer games, printable worksheets and learning games online

Twinkl - This is more for printouts, and usually at a fee, but they are offering a month of free access to parents in the event of school closures.

Tynker - Learn to code and mod Minecraft with Tynker's easy-to-learn, visual programming courses. Tynker makes it fun to learn computer programming

Udemy - On-Demand Online Courses! Find the right instructor for you. Any topic, skill level, or language. Download To Your Phone. Expert Instructors. Lifetime Access. Courses: Reiki, Guitar, Drawing.

Unite for Literacy - provides free digital access to picture books, narrated in many languages. Literacy is at the core of a healthy community

 

YouTube Channels:

Crash Course - You Tube videos on many subjects

Crash Course Kids - This bi-weekly show from the producers of Crash Course is all about gradeschool science. We'll look at Earth, Habitats, Space, 

Science Channel - Official Homepage for Science. Watch Full Episodes FREE with your TV subscription. Get Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Shows! Start Exploring Now

SciShow Kids - Awesome Animals - SciShow Kids Play all Learning about cute, weird, and fun animals is doing science! Learn about the science of animals with Jessi and her friends!

National Geographic Kids - Let Your Child have Loads of Fun Discovering Facts About Their Incredible Planet. 

Geography Focus - A full scheme of work.

TheBrainScoop -  work and research of natural history museums with the world.

SciShow -  explores the unexpected

Kids Learning Tube - channel with a mission to educate kids of all ages through original music and animation.

Geeek Gurl Diaries - Welcome to the Geek Gurl Diaries, where us gurl's discuss, create, demo and interview all things geek.

Mike Likes Science -  I like learning and helping people learn. So every month or so, I make science inspired music videos

Science Max - exciting new series that turbocharges all the science experiments you've done at home.

Science for Kids - is the home of science & technology on the Internet for children around the world.

Scholastic - Find the best books, literary resources and educational solutions for kids at Scholastic, a leader in publishing and education for nearly 100 years.

SoulPancake - Sign up for the SPoonful, and get a weekly dose of joy delivered directly to your inbox.

 

Links to Support Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs:

The Council for Disabled Children have outlined a list of links to support children and young people with special educational needs, together with their parents and carers, to give information about Coronavirus.

National Autistic Society - Guidance and helpline for parents, young people and staff

Mencap - Easy-read guide to Coronavirus

Place2Be - Guide to helping parents answer questions from their children and to support family wellbeing

Young Minds - Talking to your child about Cornavirus and 10 tips from their Parentd Helpline to support family wellbeing

Carers UK - Guidance for carers

Covibook - An interactive resource designed to support and reassure children aged 7 and under, designed to help children explain and draw the emotions that they might be experiencing during the pandemic

Amaze - information pack for parents

 

Online Safety:

Newsletter with online safety information

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