Second national lockdown prompts call for more mental health support
With the NHS weeks from being overwhelmed, and a higher death toll than the first wave predicted without new restrictions, the Prime Minister has announced another national lockdown. Fom Thursday 5 November, everyone must stay at home, with a limited set of exemptions.
Marjorie Wallace, Chief Executive of SANE, comments on the second national lockdown due to come into effect on Thursday:
“As the new national lockdown approaches, many people are facing a double whammy. Not only are they finding their existing mental health conditions worsening due to feeling trapped and isolated, but they are also battling prolonged fear and uncertainty
“Since the first lockdown in March, SANE has seen a significant increase in the number of new callers to our helpline who have been triggered into deep anxiety and depression, as well as calls from those who have an existing diagnosis but are unable to receive professional support from mental health services. In an audit of the helpline, 30 per cent of callers told us they were actively suicidal.
“We do not want to see an increase in suicides and self-harm as a result of people being too afraid to go for help at A&E, feeling their problems are less important, or believing that they would be triaged to a lower level of help.
“At the beginning of the last lockdown we said that urgent action was needed to avoid a looming mental health crisis.
“Given the existing shortages of specialist nurses and doctors, we call on the Government to recruit and train a workforce of mental health volunteers who could befriend, support and monitor those locked down at home in what may be difficult circumstances.”