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Isolation and coping

Coronavirus, AKA COVID-19: It’s everywhere, right?

There is enough news about coronavirus – it’s here and it’s happening. Make sure you’re informed, but also that you only read information from trusted sources. Don’t place trust in tweets, Facebook posts or sensationalised headlines. The truth is there is still much governments don’t know. For now, we have to take the daily updates and facts as they come in, direct from the briefings or .gov websites.

Currently (as of March 18th), in the UK the advice is as follows (Source):

if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started. See ending isolation section for more information

if you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill

Across the world, in addition to self-isolation, many schools and businesses are choosing to close. This means more people will be at home, and it may very well be that additional government advice is given for a wider population to enact preventative self-isolation.

This could cause anxiety for some people. But what are the best steps to take? How should we all act and what can we do to help each other through the coming weeks and months? In this week’s blog, we look at what could happen and offer our tips for the best ways to handle the situation.

Ok – I’m trapped!


Right. It might be your choice; you might have been told to self-isolate, or where you’d normally be right now has closed and locked the door. Regardless of why, it’s likely that at some point in the coming days, weeks or month you’re going to have to spend some time ‘locked down’. Remember, no matter your situation, there is help out there right now – if you need to talk to someone, please visit our contact page to find details and numbers!

Of course, for some, the thought of staying at home and being able to do what they want sounds like a holiday! But for others this could sound difficult, a for sure, self-isolation can be tough. Preparing yourself for sustenance and physical survival is one thing but there are no guidelines to prepare your mental wellbeing. Now of course, we’re gaming experts – we’ve taken characters through unimaginable quests and adventures. We can handle this right…? For some yep, you’ve got this, but for others maybe not. Those controller skills don’t always transfer to the real world, so it’s really important you prepare and think about the days ahead.

There is no preparation for other human being’s reactions, actions or interactions. If you do feel panicked, It’s going to be Ok!

NHS advice says (Source):

Try and keep two metres (three steps) away from other people – especially older people or those with long-term health conditions

Make sure any room you are in is well-ventilated.

  • Ask friends and family and delivery services to deliver food and medicine – but avoid contact with them
  • Sleep alone if possible
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds on a regular basis
  • Don’t have visitors and ask people to leave deliveries outside
  • Don’t leave the house, even just for a walk
  • Use separate facilities where possible. If sharing, these should be cleaned before use by others
  • Use separate household items like towels, bedding, toothbrushes, cups and dishes
  • Try to keep away from your pets. If you can’t avoid it, wash your hands before and after contact

But what else should you think about?

  • If you have medication and are worried about supply, you should contact your doctor or pharmacy.
  • If you have a cold or a cough or a headache – don’t panic. Under these circumstances, symptoms are exaggerated, and you may start to worry. It is still the season for colds and coughs. Drink plenty of water and rest.
  • Prepare to obey the rules, and in fact, add some extra rules that suit you. Structure can be a great thing in these situations.
  • If you order takeaways, ask if they will deliver via non-contact methods.

My living room is my office!?


  • If you are working from home, set up a special area for work, it helps create a boundary for yourself.
  • If you need to work, work controlled hours. Don’t overdo it. It is about pacing yourself.
  • Save the sofa for fun or sleeping.
  • Talk to your workplace and colleagues often –  make sure they know how you are, how you’re feeling and what you need.
  • Create little routines, take your workplace practises home. What time would you stretch your legs, make a coffee etc



  • If you are missing out on school… have fun!!! Seriously, read a book, try to do some work. Or just have fun!
  • Try to relax and not overthink what’s going on outside.
  • Play those games that have been accumulating in the pile of shame. (we all have them right!)
  • If you are with people, in an enclosed space, play board games with them.
  • Listen to music or the radio.
  • Try some exercise. It really helps clear the mind and in fact might lead to a new you when this is over.


Talk, talk TALK!


  • Discord, Skype, facetime, Snap, Insta, Whatsapp. WeChat – what a time to have great technology. Whether you’re home alone, in the office, away from friends and family – stay connected and talk regularly.
  • Community spirit and helping others is a great help to your Mental Wellbeing.
  • Spending time on your well-being is also super important.
  • Do things that bring you joy.
  • Use the opportunity to reset.

Support your team!


There is a lot of great advice available about working from home, such as ACAS who recommend the below.

It’s good practice for employers to:

  • keep everyone updated on actions being taken to reduce risks of exposure in the workplace
  • make sure everyone’s contact numbers and emergency contact details are up to date
  • consider extra precautions for staff who might be more vulnerable, for example if someone is pregnant, aged 70 or over, or has a long-term health condition
  • make sure managers know how to spot symptoms of coronavirus and are clear on any relevant processes, for example sickness reporting and sick pay, and procedures in case someone in the workplace shows symptoms of the virus
  • make sure there are clean places to wash hands with hot water and soap, and encourage everyone to wash their hands regularly
  • provide hand sanitiser and tissues for staff, and encourage them to use them
  • consider if any travel or meetings are necessary and if meetings can be held remotely instead
  • keep up to date with the latest government coronavirus advice on GOV.UK

Current government advice is for everyone to try and stop unnecessary contact with other people – ‘social distancing’. This includes:

  • working from home where possible
  • avoiding busy commuting times on public transport
  • avoiding gatherings of people, whether in public, at work or at home

Employers should support their workforce to take these steps. This might include:

  • agreeing to more flexible ways of working, for example changing start and finish times to avoid busier commuting times
  • allowing staff to work from home wherever possible
  • cancelling face-to-face events and meetings and rearranging to remote calling where possible, for example using video or conference calling technology
  • Whatever happens in the coming weeks, you’re not alone. If you feel you need to talk, if it’s getting too much, visit our contact page for the local details.


As above, if you are feeling overwhelmed, it’s vital you do something about it. Reach out to a friend, talk to your work or a teacher,  or use our contact page for confidential helplines.

Keep washing your hands and be safe.


Skills utilised:
Covid 19, News

Hellblade developer Ninja Theory announces “The Insight Project,” an initiative to make games addressing mental illness

Ninja Theory, the developer behind cult-favorite titles such as Enslaved: Odyssey to the West and Heavenly Sword, has announced “The Insight Project,” a research and development initiative marrying game design and technology together with clinical neuroscience to produce games specifically intended to promote mental health awareness and assist those suffering from mental illness.

That Ninja Theory would announce such a forward-thinking project centered around mental health wellbeing perhaps comes as no surprise to those who closely follow the industry, as the developer won critical acclaim in 2017 for Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, a dark action/adventure title rooted in Norse mythology and Celtic culture whose titular heroine, Senua, suffers from psychosis.

Not only is it rare to see psychosis — and, by extension, mental illness in general — addressed in video games at all, it’s even rarer to see the disease represented thoughtfully and accurately, and Ninja Theory went out of their way to make sure Hellblade closely reflected what it can be like to live as one afflicted with psychosis.

Ninja Theory’s “Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice” won several awards for its realistic and thoughtful representation of the psychosis its titular heroine, Senua, suffers from.

To say Ninja Theory’s efforts were successful would be putting it mildly: Hellblade ultimately won myriad awards, including five BAFTAs and a Royal College of Psychiatrists award. Following the game’s release, then, Ninja Theory creative director Tameem Antoniades and Paul Fletcher, a psychiatrist and professor of health neuroscience at the University of Cambridge, continued their collaborative discussions on how the medium of video games can be utilized to represent mental illness and play an assistive role for players struggling with their own mental health.

It was these continued discussions that ultimately resulted in the establishment of The Insight Project, which aims to continue and expand the work Ninja Theory and their collaborators started with Hellblade. In Ninja Theory’s own words, with The Insight Project the developer is “planning a program of gaming, technological, and scientific development that will lead to self-contained, individualized, and absorbing game experiences within which people can become an expert at recognizing, responding to, and ultimately controlling their own fear, anxiety, and other negative subjective experiences.”

To ensure the project’s veracity, effectiveness, and overall validity, these efforts will be grounded by “rigorous scientific principles” and will adhere to “strict standards” of ethics and data management.

While The Insight Project is very much a work in progress and meant to take shape over the next several years, the decision was made to announce the initiative early on in order to emphasize a transparent and open approach to its development. An exploratory but experimentally guided project, the initiative’s ultimate intent is to deliver a mainstream solution for treating mental suffering, encouraging mental wellbeing, and bringing mental health treatment into the mainstream.

Senua would be proud.

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