Working with the Healthy Living Centre Alliance (HLCA), we are investing in a tailored programme to protect the mental health of people living with long-term physical health conditions.
As part of our Covid Recovery Programme, the Mental Health for Better Days project aims to develop a mental health wellbeing module within the HLCA’s award-winning Better Days Chronic Pain Management programme.
Many people in Northern Ireland live with long-term conditions. The recent Health Survey NI 20/21 found that two-fifths of people have a physical or mental health condition or illness expected to last 12 months or more. This increased with age, from a quarter of those aged 16-24 to over two-thirds of those aged 75 and over.
People living with long-term conditions, such as diabetes and cancer, are more at risk of experiencing mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression. The mental health challenges inflicted by the pandemic, lockdown and social distancing rules have been difficult. Additionally, managing a health condition puts even more pressure on people. With the reduced availability of health and social care services and social support networks throughout lockdowns, many were left to deal with emotional distress alone.
In August 2020, 49% of the general population felt anxious or worried due to COVID-19. This compares to 63% of people living with a long-term physical health condition and 65% of people living with a long-term mental health condition.
The HLCA works with communities throughout Northern Ireland, using a person-centred approach to improving health and wellbeing. Through our partnership, we will work with HLCA staff and volunteers to grow their ability to embed a prevention approach to mental health.