Lib Dems lead cross-party call for mental health plan in response to COVID-19 crisis

A party press release brings the news, continuing the welcome long-running party focus on mental health:

Liberal Democrats are at the forefront of cross-party calls for a long-term, cross-departmental mental health plan in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Citing the “acute” impact of the pandemic on mental health, a cross-party group of Parliamentarians warn that over half of adults admit the coronavirus crisis has impacted their wellbeing.

The group, led by Liberal Democrat Health, Wellbeing and Social Care spokesperson Munira Wilson, are calling for the Government to set up:

  • An expert-led mental health taskforce to advise on the best methods to deal with the mental health impact of coronavirus.
  • A cross-departmental mental health plan to find ways to improve mental wellbeing for people affected by COVID-19, including tailored plans for vulnerable groups such as frontline staff and bereaved families.
  • A focus on developing ‘PPE for the Mind’, so that all key workers on the frontlines have immediate access to mental health support, both during and in the aftermath of this crisis.

These demands follow previous cross-party calls for the Government to increase funding for mental health charities and services, and to better signpost mental health support services to households, especially the elderly.

Munira Wilson said:

Thousands of frontline NHS and care staff, not to mention other key workers, are enduring deeply traumatic events through this ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Thousands more are dealing with bereavement. Millions are already struggling with loneliness, or may be under significant stress due to rapid changes in personal circumstances, from losing their job to losing their home.

The scale of the mental health impact left in the wake of this virus must not be underestimated. The Government needs to plan now to meet future demand when it comes to mental health support. That’s why we’re calling on Ministers to set up an expert-led task force to focus on this issue, and to develop a long-term, cross-departmental plan for mental health support given the chaos created by COVID-19.

We’re also calling for the Government to equip all frontline workers with ‘PPE for the mind’ by ensuring that they have immediate access to mental health support services, both now and in the future. Failure to do so would completely let down those who are making sacrifices every day to help us through this terrible pandemic.

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