Lib Dems lead cross-party call for improved mental health support amidst Covid-19 crisis

Social distancing means millions are now home alone, facing the prospect of only the most minimal contact with another soul for months. This isolation is likely to have a grave impact on their mental health.

Millions more, without being completely isolated, will still be struggling with the rapid changes the coronavirus has wrought upon our way of life. People’s anxiety will be further fueled by concern for the health of loved ones, or stress resulting from the impact of the pandemic on jobs and livelihoods.

Given the unprecedented events we are living through, the need for mental health support could not be clearer. That’s why the government must signpost the appropriate support services to every household, and adequately fund the charities that provide those services.

Isolation is likely to have a grave impact on the mental health of millions across the country – the government must boost mental health support to help those hardest hit by social distancing

— Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) April 5, 2020

Writing to the Secretary of Health, Munira Wilson MP and a cross-party group of Parliamentarians have expressed fears that government advice to stay at home will leave people “worried about coronavirus, their jobs, housing” and “anxious about their family’s health and their own.”

Over 40 MPs from across the political spectrum have signed the letter highlighting the “inextricable link” between mental and physical health and urging the Government to:

  • launch a publicity campaign signposting the mental health support available during the coronavirus crisis.
  • send public health leaflets, which include advice on looking after mental health and signposts to organisations that can offer mental health support during the crisis, to all homes.
  • increase the level of funding for mental health charities offering support during the coronavirus crisis, to reduce pressure on the NHS.

The Mental Health Foundation and Campaigns at Young Minds have both supported the cross-party efforts.

Mark Rowland, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, said:

“Supporting and protecting people’s mental health will be critical for people to endure and recover from this pandemic. Peer support approaches and prominent advice should be central to the government’s plan, with a particular focus on reaching those most at risk.”

Tom Madders, Director of Communications and Campaigns at Young Minds said:

It is crucial that young people are able to access support at this time and know where to find good quality information and resources on how they can look after their mental health at home.

Now is the time for us all to work together and support those most at risk in our society.

The Government must fully recognise the growing mental health impact that COVID-19 will continue to have on children and young people, and ensure that those professionals and organisations providing mental health support are well enough resourced and supported to do so.”

For more information about how you can take care of your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak, the mental health charity Mind has some useful guidance here.