Severe Mental illness & Covid 19: Support in the community - social care, carers and peer support

Report published 25 June 2020 by Jonathan Moore.

Though clinical support is a vital component of care, people severely affected by mental illness need more than this to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. This objective cannot be achieved by medical treatment alone. Our beneficiaries rely on a far wider network of services to help them stay well. It is vital that these are in place to ensure that the NHS Long Term Plan, which prioritises services for people severely affected by mental illness for the first time, is delivered.

Some of these forms of support are dependent on statutory services, while others are reliant on the support they need from their loved ones, or the support they provide each other. This briefing covers three key topics under this umbrella: social care, carers and peer support.

Our findings reveal that in many cases it is carers who have picked up the additional burden that the pandemic has placed on their loved ones and from the difficulties people severely affected by mental illness had faced in accessing other forms of support. They also reinforce the importance of social care and peer support to people severely affected by mental illness, in many cases by their absence during the pandemic.

Overall, they show the need to expand social care and the benefits to peer support to more people severely affected by mental illness in the longer term, and to double down in our efforts to support their carers. The recommendations we make focus on improving the scrutiny, transparency and accountability of the system during and after the pandemic and on expanding the number of people severely affected by mental illness who benefit from these forms of support in future.

Main report

This report is divided into serveral parts. Please use the arrow to the right to open each section. A link to download this report as a PDF can be found at the bottom of this article.

For further information on this briefing, please contact Jonathan Moore, Head of Social Policy, at jonathan.moore@rethink.org in the first instance.

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