Post-pandemic mental health support for people living with long term conditions launching in Scotland

Announced today during the Health and Social Care Alliance’s annual conference, the project follows both the Foundation’s longitudinal study into the impact of the pandemic on mental health and the ALLIANCE’s People at the Centre programme of engagement.  The Foundation’s research, which has been ongoing since March 2020, confirmed that people with long term conditions were among those more likely to have experienced increased levels of stress, anxiety and depression. The ALLIANCE’s engagement also highlighted how this has been exacerbated by reduced access to support networks, health and social care during lockdowns.  

The Living Well:  Emotional Support Matters team is currently in talks with eight third sector delivery partners across Scotland, each with an expertise in a long term condition and close links to the community.   The aim is to engage with as many population groups as possible within urban, suburban and rural locations, including different genders, ethnicities and age groups. 

The delivery partners will be announced over the summer with work taking place from August 2020. 

Julie Cameron, Associate Director of Mental Health Foundation in Scotland, said: “We are delighted to be launching the Living Well: Emotional Support Matters programme in Scotland this month alongside Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland. 

“We are eager to begin work with our third sector delivery partners and reach people whose mental health has been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.  While we will offer the Foundation’s mental health resources and tools, our partners are experts in the conditions they represent and best placed to develop, promote and protect the emotional health and wellbeing of the communities in which they serve. 

“Together we hope to reach thousands of people living with a long term condition and empower them with the knowledge and skills for good mental health.”

Living Well:  Emotional Support Matters is funded with £250,000 each from Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland and Mental Health Foundation, with support from The Monday Charitable Trust.   

Professor Ian Welsh OBE, Chief Executive of Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland, said: “It has long been known that living with long term conditions can, and often does, have a serious impact on people’s emotional health and wellbeing. This has been further exacerbated during the pandemic where people have lost access to self care mechanisms, experienced increased isolation and felt significant fear for both themselves and loved ones.

“As we learn to live with and recover from COVID-19 supporting the mental and emotional wellbeing of people living with long term conditions must be therefore prioritised.”

“Recognising this necessity, we are thrilled to be working with Mental Health Foundation on Living Well: Emotional Support Matters and to be contributing to creating a Scotland where people living with long term conditions can thrive physically, mentally and emotionally.”

Living Well:  Emotional Support Matters is the first in the UK to be announced as part of the Mental Health Foundation’s Covid Response Programme which will deliver targeted support programmes for people who experience inequality and have been more adversely affected by the pandemic.  This includes lone parents, Black and minority ethnic communities, refugees and people living with long term conditions. 

The Foundation is committing at least £1 million which will be matched by £1 million from partners and funders over the next two years, including £750,000 from The Monday Charitable Trust.

Several projects will be announced in the coming weeks and months.  As well as providing practical mental health support to people, they will also add to the Foundation’s research and learning, providing valuable insight into what works well and can be rolled out at scale to prevent poor mental health across the UK. 

Julie added:  “We have all had to weather the COVID-19 storm, but we have not all been in the same boat with the same ability to protect ourselves.  We want to co-produce meaningful mental health support, tailored to the needs of people who face greater challenges due to inequality.  We are confident that working together with public and third sector organisations will provide the right support in the right way to people and communities at higher risk of poor mental health, enabling them to live mentally healthy lives.”

For further information about Living Well:  Emotional Support Matters visit www.mentalhealth.org.uk/scotland/coronavirus

Ends

For further information and interview requests please contact Claire Fleming at Mental Health Foundation on email [email protected]

Notes to editors

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 Foundation is the home of Mental Health Awareness Week.
  • mentalhealth.org.uk

About the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland

  • Our vision is for a Scotland where people of all ages who are disabled or living with long term conditions, and unpaid carers, have a strong voice and enjoy their right to live well, as equal and active citizens, free from discrimination, with support and services that put them at the centre.
  • The Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland is the national third sector intermediary for a range of health and social care organisations. 
  • We have a membership of over 3,000 national and local third sector organisations, associates in the statutory and private sectors, disabled people, people living with long term conditions and unpaid carers.
  • We are a strategic partner of Scottish Government
  • https://www.alliance-scotland.org.uk/