Mental Health Foundation calls on UK Government to invest more in public health in the forthcoming Spending Review, to solve mental health inequalities in the wake of the pandemic
Foundation research shows how crisis continues to have unequal effects on mental health
The Mental Health Foundation is today unveiling a £2 million Covid Response Programme to support people whose mental health has been hardest hit by the pandemic, according to its ongoing study.
Those groups include adults living with long-term health conditions, lone parents, people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds and people who are refugees.
The Foundation is committing £1 million to the programme, with the further £1 million being provided by partners including the Monday Charitable Trust, the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland, the Welsh Government, MumsAid, The Motherhood Group, Single Parents Wellbeing and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board in north Wales.
The new programme is being announced to coincide with World Mental Health Day (10 October 2021), which this year has the theme of ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World.’
Mark Rowland, Chief Executive of Mental Health Foundation, said: “Among the people struggling the most are those who were already facing considerable challenges. This includes people with long-term health conditions, or facing discrimination or who may be parenting on their own.
“From the beginning of the pandemic, the Mental Health Foundation has tracked its effect on people’s mental health. Now, we are launching a £2 million programme to work with partners to help some of the people who have been hardest hit.
“We are doing our part but we need the government to do theirs. The UK government’s levelling-up plan must include investing in public health – which has been steadily cut since 2015/16 – in order to overcome mental health inequalities.
“We’re urging the Spending Review and forthcoming Autumn Budget to prevent a deepening of existing inequalities, by retaining the £20 a week uplift to Universal Credit, increasing investment in the Public Health Grant and committing to a long-term Mental Health Promotion and Prevention Fund of £25 million per annum for three years.”
The Covid Response Programme aims to add value to existing mental health work, by working alongside selected partners. This will include peer-leader training, group sessions, individual advice and counselling. As well as benefits for the individuals participating, the delivery partners will gain capacity to offer improved mental health support to the people they work with.
The Covid Response Programme projects across the UK include:
Living Well: Emotional Support Matters, Scotland
In Scotland, the Foundation is partnering with the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland for the Living Well: Emotional Support Matters project. It will enable eight charities working with people who are living with long-term health conditions to provide mental health support.
These eight charities are: Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, SISG, Braveheart, Versus Arthritis, Diabetes Scotland, Waverley Care, Clan Cancer Support and MS Mid Argyll.
Connecting Creatively: Single Parents Wellbeing, Wales
Connecting Creatively offers a safe space for single parents and their children by encouraging creativity and positive parenting and through building a peer support network. In doing this, we hope to enhance the mental health and wellbeing of single parents, to improve their social connections and strengthen the relationships between parents and their children.
Ultimately, the project aims to promote wellbeing, promote good parent/child bonding and build people’s emotional resilience, which will have a long-term positive impact on the lives of the families involved.
About the Monday Charitable Trust
Through its grant making, the charity primarily supports: hospices; young people with the provision of life skills and/or improving social mobility; mental health; members or former members of the armed forces; people transitioning from rough sleeping.
About the Mental Health Foundation
Our vision is of good mental health for all. The Mental Health Foundation works to prevent mental health problems. We drive change towards a mentally healthy society for all and support communities, families and individuals to lead mentally healthy lives, with a particular focus on those at greatest risk. The Mental Health Foundation is also the home of Mental Health Awareness Week.