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16 Mar 2020

Coronavirus: escalating fear of loneliness and isolation

As the number of deaths attributed to coronavirus rises, the government has announced that it is stepping up its response aimed at delaying its spread, rather than containing it.

The World Health Organization has labelled the outbreak of the disease as a pandemic.

Marjorie Wallace, Chief Executive of SANE, on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on people with mental health problems:

“SANE is concerned about the damaging effects of the current global uncertainty and upheaval on the mental health of people who are already vulnerable.

“Increasing numbers of callers to SANEline, our telephone helpline, report escalating fear of loneliness and isolation as a reason for their distress.

“We anticipate that already overburdened mental health services could be diverted into the care of coronavirus patients, the few remaining psychiatric beds and staff seconded, leaving those with depression, paranoia and anxiety and other mental health conditions even more neglected and at risk of self-harm and suicide.

“SANE’s helpline intends to remain open as a lifeline, but we will need support to ensure that our trained volunteers and professionals can still be available to those in need.”

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