Mental health and COVID-19

July 10, 2020
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For many people, the toll on mental health is a significant impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Issues such as bereavement, isolation, stress, poverty, unemployment, uncertainty, stigma and the increased prevalence of domestic violence are linked to the outbreak and lockdown, and are major drivers of mental health issues.

What is mental health?

Mental health is emotional and psychological well-being. Mental health is vital to quality of life, as good mental health enables people to function, to cope and to have greater control their life. Mental health and physical health relate to each other. Following previous underinvestment in mental health services in the UK, in the last decade the government has committed to achieve ‘parity of esteem’ between mental and physical health services. However, the lack of visibility and funding has contributed to the ongoing stigma associated with mental health issues, and people not seeking help or treating their mental health seriously.

Where to find support‍

If you are experiencing poor mental health or would like to offer support, we've collated some resources and organisations working to tackle the issue and provide help. You usually don’t need a medical diagnosis to access mental health services.

  • As well as being a campaigning charity, Mind provides advice and support to people experiencing a mental health problem. They provide lots of information and advice, including a telephone support line. The local branch is Lambeth and Southwark.
  • Every Mind Matters has been created by Public Health England, and focuses on practical advice approved by the NHS.
  • HelpGuide is a non-profit mental health and wellness website. It has lots of articles and information that you can use to help yourself and others.
  • Mental Health UK is a charity that supports people affected by mental health problems including friends, family and carers. It provides advice, information and has links to support groups. In England, these are run by Rethink Mental Illness.
  • The Southwark Wellbeing Hub is a service providing information and support to anyone living in Southwark who is worried about their wellbeing, or that of someone close to them. Its drop-in sessions, pop-ups and Wellbeing Workshops are currently suspended.
  • The Nest provides free and confidential mental wellbeing advice and support for young people aged 13-25 in Southwark. Its face-to-face meetings are currently suspended, but support and advice is available by telephone and online.
  • The Mental Health Foundation focuses on preventing mental ill-health. As well as campaigning and research, they provide practical advice that may be particularly relevant for people who don’t necessarily think they have a debilitating problem. They also provide information in relation to mental health at work.
  • Cruse is a national charity for bereaved people, and offers telephone, email and website support. They also run Hope Again, specifically for children and young people.
  • Samaritans is a charity that provides emotional support to people at moments of crisis, especially to people at risk of suicide, and anyone in emotional distress or who is struggling to cope. They have a free helpline, at 116 123.
  • Papyrus provides confidential support and advice to young people struggling with thoughts of suicide, and anyone worried about a young person through its helpline, HOPELINEUK, at 0800 068 4141.
  • Shout is a 24/7 UK crisis text service available for times when people feel they need immediate support. By texting ‘SHOUT’ to ‘85258’ a texter will be put in touch with a trained Crisis Volunteer (CV) who will chat to them using trained techniques via text. The service is designed to help individuals to think more clearly and to take their next steps to feeling better.
  • Beat is an eating disorder charity, which runs a national helpline and also supports family and friends.
  • In place of its usual face to face activities, Black Minds Matter has started a podcast series to hear and share news and stories on how we are all managing, the things we are getting up to and learning, and tips and techniques to make the best out of the highly unusual circumstances we find ourselves in.
  • Counselling is a talking therapy that involves a trained therapist listening to you and helping you find ways to deal with emotional issues. The NHS provides information on how counselling can help you, and on what free support may be available to you. Local private therapists can be found through the UK Council for Psychotherapy.

Please email if you are aware of other initiatives or organisations we can add to this list.

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