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Sunday, 18 April 2021
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Increased mental health support for over 3.5 million people

COMMUNITY-based mental health care and support will be transformed and vital services expanded thanks to a donation of nearly £7m to Rethink Mental Illness and Mind. The money has been raised by the Covid-19 Support Fund, established by the insurance and long-term savings industry.

Research from Rethink Mental Illness revealed 79% of people living with mental illness said their health had deteriorated due to the pandemic. A survey by Mind of 16,000 people showed that over half of adults and two-thirds of young people said their mental health got worse during the pandemic, with many developing problems for the first time. A fifth of adults who tried to access support were unable to do so. Findings by the Covid-19 Support Fund also showed that, since March 2020, mental health support is amongst the most common types of charity services that people have accessed.

Colm Holmes, Chair of the Covid-19 Support Fund Governance Committee, said:

“We know that for many people throughout the UK, the pandemic has had a severe and lasting impact on their mental health. The donation from the Covid-19 Support Fund will help millions of people, expand vital services and create a legacy framework for community-based mental health services. We’re indebted to Rethink Mental Illness and Mind for their work and to our donors across the insurance and long-term savings industry to enable this funding.”

Rethink Mental Illness will build on a blueprint they’ve created to transform community mental health care by establishing four local alliances benefitting more than 3.5 million people. The alliances will bring together people using services, health and care providers and a broad range of other organisations to create communities that care about mental health. They will focus on local needs and strengths and mobilise the support people need for their wellbeing and recovery, such as finding or keeping a home, building a social network, or finding employment. Learnings will be shared across the health and social care system to support wider transformation.

Mind’s research has identified three key audiences where mental health support is urgently needed: children and young people, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, and people experiencing poverty. The funds donated by the Covid-19 Support Fund will help the charity to reach those most in need by expanding existing national services such as its Infoline, information resources, and their online peer support platform, Side by Side. Also, new and existing Mind advice and support services will be developed across England and Wales.

The funding extends to Mind’s strategic partners SAMH in Scotland and Inspire in Northern Ireland. Working together, the charities will support those most in need right across the UK.

Mark Winstanley, CEO of Rethink Mental Illness, said:

“We are hugely grateful for this unprecedented and generous donation from the Covid-19 Support Fund, which will support our work to help transform community mental health care across four local alliances.

“Our ambition is to improve the standard of care people receive by tailoring the offer of support in each area, taking into account every aspect of people’s lives which impacts their mental health. Complementing our current work in the rural setting of Somerset, these four new partnerships will ultimately benefit more than 3.5 million people, covering one of the most diverse populations in the UK, a university city, an industrial heartland and a seaside community. This will leave a lasting legacy, providing vital mental health support as the country looks to recover from the pandemic and creating a blueprint of best practice for the future.”

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said:

“We are incredibly grateful for the donation from the Covid-19 Support Fund because now more than ever, the nation needs support with its mental health. As a result of the pandemic, we’ve seen more people coming to Mind for support – whether that’s through our website, Infoline, or the services run by our network of local Minds.

“This generous donation will help us expand our most relied upon national services, like our Infoline, our online peer support platform and our trusted information resources, as well as deliver new services locally. By expanding to meet rising demand and providing a long-term response to the pandemic, we can make sure Mind is there for as many people who need us as possible.”

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