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SANE comment on coronavirus and the looming mental health crisis
Added: 17th Mar 2020

Please find below comment from Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the mental health charity SANE, on the looming mental health crisis that could emerge as a result of the coronavirus pandemic:

 “While there is all this focus on physical health we are in danger of overlooking the impact of coronavirus on the mental health of the country, which could pose a risk in itself.

“Loneliness can be a killer. A study of 300,000 people found that it is associated with a 29 per cent increase in mortality. In other words, it is a significant factor in poorer health outcomes and premature death and we need to balance these risks.

“SANEline, our telephone helpline, is receiving more calls from people suffering from depression, anxiety, panic and obsessive compulsive disorder, who are becoming acutely distressed. Already 80 per cent of our callers talk about self-harm and suicide, and we fear that without being able to reach us or find other help they may be tipped over the edge.

“For some people, particularly the elderly, the prospect of isolation can be daunting. For others four months at home may be seen as a change in lifestyle, but for those with no real home or who are living in a substandard flat staring at the four walls, as many patients are, isolation can loom like a living hell.

“Psychiatric services need to be on red alert for patients who are deteriorating. SANE seeks support and donations to ensure its lines stay open to help allay the fears and anxieties of the most vulnerable and meet the inevitable mental health crisis.”

SANEline is staffed by trained volunteers and professionals and is open between 4.30pm and 10.30pm every day of the year on 0300 304 7000.

To make a dontion to SANE, please visit www.sane.org.uk or call 0203 805 1790. To donate £5 from your mobile, text SANE to 70500.

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