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Covid-19: City MP says we must prioritise mental health too

Data is showing over 4 in 5 adults are worried about the effect coronavirus (Cocid-19) is having on their life right now. More than half are saying it is effecting their wellbeing and nearly half are reporting high levels of anxiety.

Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP has therefore today taken action to ensure the mental wellbeing of constituents is prioritised during the coronavirus crisis and is calling on government to do more to protect those working on the frontline.

Welcoming efforts by Solent NHS Trust to bring local services together, the MP has committed to working with local providers to help people with their mental health as services continue to respond to the crisis and at the same time make plans for our communities’ recovery.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Everyone in the country has been affected by Covid-19 in some way, be it through staying at home and being separated from friends and family, uncertainty about work or education, or knowing someone with the virus.

There is no disputing, this crisis is having an undeniable impact on all of our health and wellbeing. The threat of physical illness to all of us is clear and obvious. However, the financial and social impact is also significant. This is particularly the case for our deprived communities and most vulnerable in society.

When people are locked down in their home, and away from friends and family, there is a greater risk of a rise in domestic violence, alcohol and drug abuse, self-harm and depression. It is only right, then, that we give equal importance and priority to protecting people’s mental health at this time of crisis”.

Mr Morgan has discussed with Solent NHS Trust senior representatives their proposals to work with other key providers to help better educate the public of signs and symptoms of mental health difficulties and promote tools and methods to better manage mood, anxiety and trauma.

An alliance is being formed to ensure rapid and easy access to emotional support through dedicated helplines and online community wide support services, which has the backing of the Portsmouth South representative.

Today’s actions follow The Institute for Public Policy Research’s Care Fit for Carers new report which has revealed the ‘catastrophic’ toll of dealing with Covid-19 on the mental health of frontline staff.

On the findings, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Parallel to the physiological effects of the virus are the impacts that dealing with it will have on the mental health of both the general public and frontline staff.

Frontline staff are having to deal with increased fatalities, more pressurised conditions and the risk of infecting their own families. The general public are having to deal with unprecedentedly low human interaction, confinement and in some cases domestic abuse and financial difficulty.

The Government has a duty to offer mental health support to frontline workers as well as introducing PTSD services. Action must also be taken to ensure that mental health provision is properly resourced and equipped for dealing with the mental health element of this pandemic.

I will continue to work with health providers and local charities to protect the mental wellbeing of those working on the frontline to keep us safe, and all those in need of help and support”.

The report, published today, provides new evidence on the experience of the healthcare workforce during Covid-19 to date from IPPR/YouGov polling of healthcare workers and the general public.

It shows that without further bold action in the days, weeks and months to come by the UK government and NHS England the country’s healthcare workforce will face significant health, mental health and welfare challenges.