Covid Response Programme
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the mental health of people all over the country but people who already experience inequality have been far more adversely affected.
That’s why we’re investing in the Covid Response Programme to deliver targeted support for lone parents, refugees, people from Black and minority ethnic communities, and people living with long term health conditions.
We have all had to weather the COVID-19 storm, but not all of us have been in the same boat. Some people have been disproportionately affected by the negative mental health impact of the pandemic and the consequences of lockdowns. Examination of further studies¹ including our own Mental Health Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Scotland on Vulnerable Groups (PDF), has shown that inequalities experienced by some, including lone parents, Black and minority ethnic communities, refugees, and people with long term physical health conditions, have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
We are investing at least £2 million over the next two years to support people and communities across the UK whose mental health has been most impacted by the events of the last year. The Mental Health Foundation is contributing at least £1 million which will be matched by other investors and delivery partners to run programmes and interventions that will support people to live mentally healthy lives.
The Covid Response Programme is not grant giving and won’t involve a tender process. Our partners have been selected based on their expertise and experience of evidence-based practice.
Below is an overview of Covid Response Programme projects across the UK. Further projects will be announced in the coming months.
Long Covid, Wales: The Long Covid project aims to improve wellbeing, reduce social isolation and prevent mental ill-health in individuals living with Long Covid. The 2-year peer support project will support people who have already attended the six-week Expert Patient Programme, provided by Betsi Cadawaldr University Health Board in North Wales, and will then build on that support over a sustained period of time to effectively equip people to self-manage their condition, with the help of peer support from others experiencing the effects of Long Covid.
Connecting Creatively: Single Parents Wellbeing, Wales: Connecting Creatively offers a safe space for single parents and their children by encouraging creativity, 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 connections and strengthen the relationships between parents and their children. Ultimately the project aims to promote wellbeing and build resilience which will have a long-term positive effect on the lives of the families involved.
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 to support eight charities working with people who are living with long term health conditions to provide tailored, practical mental health support. (Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, SISG, Braveheart, Versus Arthritis, Diabetes Scotland, Waverley Care, Clan Cancer Support and MS Mid Argyll.)
Young Mums Connect, England: Young Mums Connect is a three-year programme in Nottingham and Greenwich, south-east London that builds on previous work to support young vulnerable mothers and their children. This programme, led by the Foundation, is delivered in partnership with Nottingham City Council, MumsAid, and The Motherhood Group. Young Mums Connect offers peer support to improve mental health, bringing young mothers and their babies together in weekly creative activities and group discussions. Weekly activities provide information about mental health, parenting and advice to help build young mothers’ confidence to deal with their future. Alongside peer support, Young Mums Connect will provide learning opportunities for health and social care teams across England, increasing their capacity to respond to the unique needs and experiences of young, vulnerable mothers.
¹ Christie, G. and Baillot, H. (2021) The impact of COVID-19 on refugees and refugee-assisting organisations in Scotland. Glasgow.
Lessard-Phillips, L. et al. (2020) Barriers to Wellbeing: Migration and vulnerability during the pandemic. London.