Wearing a Mask and Mental Health

By 1 December 2021No Comments

The introduction of masks again can be worrying for a lot of people. As the UK government announced that face coverings will become mandatory again in shops and on public transport, we wanted to share some tips and advice on how to deal with mask wearing again if you struggle.

Tips for coping with masks and face coverings

You may never feel totally comfortable with masks. But there are lots of ideas you could try to help make your experience easier.

  • If wearing a mask makes you feel panicky or like it’s harder to breathe, you could get some fresh air before and after you need to wear your mask. Choose a face covering that fits differently or add a comforting scent to your mask.
  • If wearing a particular material creates sensory overload, you could experiment with various fabrics or secure it in a different way. If wearing a mask steams up your glasses and makes it hard to see wash your glasses with soapy water- a thin layer of soapy film may make it harder for the lenses to steam up or sit your glasses on top of the fabric or Line your mask with a tissue.
  • If seeing other people in masks makes you feel uneasy or afraid, you could shift your focus away from someone’s face and Try to pay extra attention to non-human surroundings. Distract yourself while you’re out, listen to music or podcasts through headphones. Letting the person wearing a mask know how you feel can also help. They may be able to change it or cover it up in your presence, to help you.
  • If covering part of your face makes you feel uncomfortable in your body image or identity, you could think of your mask as a fashion accessory or choose a transparent mask or see-through face covering so the fabric doesn’t hide your face in the same way.


Some people may be ‘exempt’ from wearing a mask, or have a ‘mask exemption’. This means they have a reasonable excuse not to wear a mask, such as experiencing certain mental health problems. You do not need to prove that you are exempt from wearing a mask, however, you can choose to carry a Mask exemption cards if this makes you feel more comfortable. You can find exemption cards to print or download on the UK Government website.

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