Peers, families and behavioral health providers bare witness every day to the impact of COVID to mental health and how our already underfunded community services would be devastated by twenty percent withholds that could end up as cuts.

This problem is certainly not New York specific or United States specific. It is worldwide.  This recent article from The London Sunday Telegraph warns of how the lack of funding for mental health services has dramatically impacted the community with the warning that things are likely to get worse as we head to the winter months.

Charities warn people face ‘the greatest test of our mental health’ this winter

  • The Sunday Telegraph
  • 1 Nov 2020
  • By Phoebe Southworth

THE country faces the “greatest test of our mental health” this winter and the Government must learn from mistakes made during the first wave, scientists and charities have warned as a second national lockdown looms.

An urgent winter support package funded by the Government, including face-to-face and online appointments with specialists, is needed to ensure vulnerable people with “disabling levels of fear and panic” who feel “distressed, lonely and isolated” aren’t abandoned, experts have said.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of the mental health charity Mind, said: “Millions of people are struggling with their mental health as a result of the pandemic.

“People with existing mental health problems, people at risk and now the general public are facing the greatest test of our mental health this year. Just last week, Mind saw the largest increase in calls to our Infoline.

“Far too many people aren’t getting the support they need, resulting in increased strain on the NHS and more people ending up in crisis. The Government has to learn from what went wrong in the first wave of coronavirus and make sure people can access help early on, to protect people’s mental health and the NHS.”

“As we face another national lockdown, we cannot see mental health bed capacity, for example, being sacrificed to ease pressure on other parts of the system this time round; demand for these beds is increasing and will only continue to do so as we head into winter.

“We’re concerned many people will fall through the gaps during a second lockdown.”

Simon Wessely, Regius Professor of Psychiatry at King’s College London, said: “It’s going to be tough, very tough. We already know that rates of depression, which is more than just feeling fed up, which I suspect is close to universal at the moment, have risen – from one in 10 of the population this time last year to one in five, according to the Office of National Statistics, and this is hardly going to make that better.”

Linda Bauld, Bruce and John Usher Professor of Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, said another lockdown means “more suffering for many”.

Ann John, a professor of medicine at Swansea University, said communication that help is available is essential.

“Strong messages that mental health services are still open for business and advice on how to maintain social connection… are needed alongside support for those facing domestic violence,” she said.

Hestia, a London-based charity supporting adults in crisis, said the number of people trying to access their help is 40 per cent higher now compared with last year, with the pandemic seeing “support networks cut off overnight”.

‘We are concerned that many people will fall through the gaps during the second lockdown’

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