The coronavirus pandemic – the most challenging health crisis for many decades – is having a profound impact on the mental health of the communities that we represent.
Uncertainty about the future, fear for ourselves and loved ones, disruption to our daily lives and, for some, social isolation, are having a negative effect, to a greater or lesser extent, on the mental wellbeing of many of us.
“Uncertainty about the future…and social isolation are having a negative effect on many of us”
Following Mental Health Awareness Week in May, we should take the time to look after all aspects of our wellbeing and support those who are finding it particularly difficult to cope.
During this crisis, councils are working closely with mental health charities and voluntary organisations to offer a wide range of support to residents who need help, including helplines, local virtual wellbeing hubs and useful resources on their websites and other platforms. The LGA and the Association of Directors of Public Health have jointly produced a briefing, ‘Public mental health and wellbeing and COVID-19’ (see under ‘public health’ at www.local.gov.uk/coronavirus).
It was also very encouraging to see the Government providing £5 million to leading mental health charities to expand their support services, with grants of between £20,000 to £50,000 available for projects lasting up to 12 months.
As we continue to do all that we can to protect our physical health during this pandemic, let us not forget the importance of taking care of our mental wellbeing as well – and supporting those who are finding this period of lockdown particularly challenging.