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Sunday, 18 April 2021
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‘I’m sick and tired of the disregard for people’s mental health,’ says Charity Today editor

At 31, a doting father, much-loved fiancée and son, Ross McCarthy should have the world at his feet. Instead, due to lockdown measures and its subsequent pressures imposed upon this young family man, his loved-ones are left grieving his loss.

The sad death of Ross McCarthy, pictured with fiancée Charlotte and their three-year-old son, “left a massive void in our lives”, his family said.

Unfortunately, this last year, Charity Today has reported on a lot of very saddening suicides, many of which attributed to the impact of lockdown.

Charity Today’s straight-talking Executive Editor, Lee B. Rayment, himself a prolific Mental Health ambassador, said:

“I’ll be honest with you, I’ve become sick and tired of the complete disregard and ignorance for people’s mental health, and with things like cancer diagnosis sidelined. I’ve known of eight suicides personally during the lockdown, and ourselves at Charity Today continue to report daily on many others.”

He added, “I feel our nation’s mental health services were shocking and inept before the pandemic, and now we feel a zoom call is the best we can do. It’s ridiculous.

“This country, our health services and mental health charities need to take a long hard look at themselves because it is not anywhere near good enough. It isn’t. We throw millions of pounds at both charities and mental health services and think that is justifiable. What people need is physical support, and to feel there is a real way out of the position they find themselves in.”

Ross’ father, Mr Mike McCarthy, agrees that the foundations are not in place to support people adequately, he said:

“For all the openness, the awareness, the talking, if the foundation isn’t there for people, then that’s simply not good enough.

“There’s lots of help out there for people when they make that first desperate call, but Ross felt in the weeks and months and years that help faded away.”

Unsurprisingly, charities and the NHS have reported a rise in the number of people seeking help for mental health issues during the pandemic.

The Department of Health and Social Care, which offered its condolences to Ross McCarthy’s family, said:

“We are committed to supporting mental wellbeing, and mental health services have remained open throughout the pandemic.

“We’ve provided the largest funding in NHS history with an additional £2.3bn a year by 2023/24 to transform mental health services for all.”

Responding to The Department of Health and Social Care’s comment’s Rayment added: “The official response is always, we’ve thrown X amount of money at the problem and services remained open, but given services over the last twelve months are non-existent unless one Zoom qualifies as support, what real, quantifiable results does any amount of money give? We need better, and people deserve better than this!”

Mr Rayment’s and Mr McCarthy’s comments come in the week that an inquest into the death of a Basingstoke-based charity fundraiser found the impact of lockdown played a significant part in the suicide of Brook Edmunds, 43.

You can call Samaritans free on 116 123, email them at jo@samaritans.org, or visit www.samaritans.org to find your nearest branch.

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