Coronavirus: Mental Health

Thank you for contacting me about mental health.

As part of the five-year funding offer that will see the annual NHS budget grow by over £33.9 billion, mental health services will receive budget growth of £2.3 billion over the five-year funding settlement, the fastest uplift in funding. This will enable further service expansion and faster access to community and crisis mental health services for both adults and particularly children and young people.

A new mental health crisis service with comprehensive mental health support will be available in every major A&E, alongside new children and young peoples’ crisis teams across the country. The additional funding will also deliver more mental health ambulances, “safe havens” in the community; and a 24-hour mental health crisis hotline when people are in urgent need of help. 

Colleagues across Parliament understand the importance of considering the impact of the news, and of isolation, on mental health.

There are a number of measures in place to support people through this difficult time. In March the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, announced NHS Volunteer Responders, enabling volunteers to provide care or help to a vulnerable person. One of the ways in which volunteers will be able to do that is by being a 'Check-In and Chat' Volunteers, who provide short-term telephone support to individuals who are at risk of loneliness as a consequence of self-isolation. Additionally, Community Response Volunteers will collect shopping, medication or other essential supplies for someone who is self-isolating, and deliver these supplies to their home.

A number of charities and media outlets have been offering guidance on how best to manage mental health during this time: for example, you can find guidance from the BBC here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-51873799

And guidance from the Mental Health Foundation here:

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/looking-after-your-mental-health-during-coronavirus-outbreak

It is very important during this time that people do all they can to remotely support one another and special provision has been given to DCMS to provide funds for charities, which will play an incredibly important part in many aspects of this national effort.  

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.