The Government has announced additional online support and practical guidance to help people cope if they are struggling with their mental health during the coronavirus outbreak.

This includes a £5 million grant for mental health charities to pay for additional services, which could include telephone and online support for the most isolated and vulnerable people. The grant will be administered by Mind.

The Government and NHS England said they’re working closely with mental health trusts to ensure those who need them have access to NHS mental health services.

Public Health England has also issued guidance and tips to the public to help support people’s mental health, as part of the plans  which have been backed by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Our response

Suky Kaur, our Head of Policy and Stakeholder Engagement, said: “It’s encouraging to see the Government is taking action to support people who are struggling with their mental health during the coronavirus outbreak.

“We believe counselling and psychotherapy can play a critical role in supporting the nation through this crisis and in helping with its long-term recovery.

“The role of professional and qualified therapists is now more important than ever before – which is why we’re campaigning for the Government to do more to maximise counselling and psychotherapy during this time.  We’re asking the Government to: work with us to ensure there is a workforce to deliver a comprehensive mental health response to the crisis; tackle labour market barriers and signpost the public to the best mental health support.

“What the Government has announced so far is a good start – but we’re hoping more can be put in place to support the public’s mental health and wellbeing, as well as to protect the livelihoods of our therapists.”

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NHS plans

The NHS says it’s stepping up to offer people help when and how they need it, including by phone, Facetime, Skype or digitally enabled therapy packages. It has an accelerated plan for a 24/7 crisis response service .

Government guidance

The Government says it’s issuing guidance to health trusts on staff training, prioritisation of services and how to maximise use of digital and virtual channels to keep delivering support to patients. NHS Mental Health providers are also establishing 24/7 helplines.

Mind and mental health charities

The Government said Mind will use existing links with other charities, including grassroots, user-led organisations, to reach vulnerable groups who are at particular risk during this period.

Public advice

Public Health England has also published tips on how to look after your wellbeing, alongside advice for parents and carers on children’s mental health. It’s also updated its Mental Health Matters website to reflect the impact of the outbreak.

This is expected to include older adults, people with an underlying health condition and anyone experiencing unstable employment and housing conditions.

What Nadine Dorries said

The Government’s announcement was made by Minister for Mental Health Nadine Dorries, who said:

“When I discovered I had coronavirus I felt anxious and scared.

“For those who already suffer with anxiety or other mental health issues this may present new and difficult challenges.

“It’s imperative that we stay home if we are to beat coronavirus and save lives. I know how important it is that people have support to look after their mental health and this guidance will be of huge value.”

To find a counsellor or psychotherapist visit our Therapist Directory.