Charities prepare for “greatest test of our mental health this year” amid second lockdown

Mental health charity Mind is calling for extra resources from the government to shore up their support for vulnerable groups amid the second national Covid-19 lockdown announced at the weekend.

The second national lockdown was announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the weekend and is due to come into affect on Thursday November 5 for at least a month.

This will see many businesses shut their doors, socialising curtailed and leisure activities postponed.

Mind chief executive Paul Farmer said: “We are facing the greatest test of our mental health this year”.

He is calling for a winter mental health support package from ministers to help charities and support services offer face-to-face and online support.

“We need to pay particular attention to people with serious mental health problems at risk of imminent crisis, as well as the wider challenges of the pandemic on the general public’s mental health,” he added.

Mind is calling for investment in community services, protection for those most at risk, reform of mental health law, a financial safety net for people and support for children and young people.

Farmer said that along with Samaritans, Shout and Hospice UK, Mind is offering the Our Frontline mental health support servicesto key workers during the pandemic.

“But these services too will require additional resourcing,” he said.

“As well as healthcare, we know wider issues of the pandemic, such as debt, housing and employment have had a huge impact on people’s mental health. We’re concerned many people will fall through the gaps during a second lockdown,” added Farmer.

Hospice UK also pledged its support to frontline workers dealing with rising rates of Covid-19 infection through its Frontline support.

Meanwhile, Age UK is also bracing itself for an increased use of its support services during lockdown, to help older people tackling issues such as mental health challenges.

Age UK charity director Caroline Abrahams said immediately after Johnson’s announcement: “Many older people’s hearts will have sunk to their boots after hearing this news.

“At Age UK we will be mobilising to help in every way we can – online, at the end of the phone and socially distanced.”

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