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New BPS guidance to help experts support people to look after their health during pandemic

27 October 2020

We've published six new guidance documents to advise health officials how to use psychology to support people to adopt healthy behaviours during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought serious disruption to people’s lives, with changes in our routines, lifestyles and behaviours potentially affecting our overall health and wellbeing.

With lives thrown upside down as a result of measures to contain the virus, many people may be finding it challenging to focus on their health at the time they need it the most. 

Aiming to help health officials to consider the changes people may have had to make in their lives during the Covid-19 pandemic, and giving psychologically-informed behaviour change approaches to help address them, the guidance focuses on addressing the following key health behaviours: 

• Physical activity
• Sedentary behaviour
• Eating behaviour 
• Stopping smoking 
• Alcohol consumption
• Sleep hygiene 

Professor Angel Chater, lead of the BPS Covid-19 Behavioural Science and Disease Prevention Taskforce, said:

“We know the Coronavirus pandemic is affecting us in a huge number of ways, and as we enter the second wave of the pandemic over autumn and winter, it’s vital that people are supported to engage in behaviours that can help promote their health and wellbeing.”

Dr Gillian Shorter, co-lead for the guidance group, said:

“Whether home-working is resulting in people leading a more sedentary lifestyle than they have previously, they’re drinking more alcohol than they usually would, or are struggling to get a good night’s sleep, it’s important that people are positively supported to take care of themselves, now more than ever.”

Professor Chater concluded:

“Health officials have the opportunity now to support national behaviour change.

Our guidance documents aim to give those in power the tools they need to enable, encourage and empower people to take steps to protect their health, and include recommendations for new policies that can help support positive change."

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