80% of people living with mental illness say current crisis has made their mental health worse.

27 April 2020

Overwhelming majority of people living with mental illness say coronavirus pandemic has caused a deterioration in their mental health – first UK wide online peer support service launched in response

Eighty percent (80%) of people living with mental illness who responded to a survey by charity Rethink Mental Illness said that coronavirus and the measures to contain it have made their mental health worse, including 28% stating that it is “much worse”.

The survey, which has so far been answered by nearly 800 people living with mental illness, revealed that:

  • 69% of people stated their mental health was worse because they can’t see family or friends
  • 60% said they are concerned their loved ones are at risk of being exposed to the virus.

People also reported that they are struggling to access mental health services as a result of the country going into lockdown:

  • 47% of people said that their mental health had become worse because they are now receiving less support from mental health services
  • 36% of people said they had not booked or attended medical appointments which they felt they should have done due to worries about catching the virus, burdening the NHS or because appointments were unavailable.
  • 29% of people also cited the impact of their employment situation during the pandemic as a key factor in the deterioration of their mental health.

Rethink Mental Illness is highlighting the importance of sustained investment in mental health services and calling for mental health to be a government priority during the pandemic.

In response to the number of people experiencing isolation, Mental Health UK, of which Rethink Mental Illness is one of the founding charities, is launching Clic (Monday April 27th).

Clic is a free, online support community to help respond to the increased demand for mental health support across the country as the nation copes with the impact of coronavirus. It aims to reduce the loneliness and isolation experienced by people with poor mental health and their carers.

Since it was first launched in Wales four years ago, the site has helped thousands of people to feel less isolated and to find the mental health information that they need, and it has now been expanded to provide support to adults across the whole of the UK.

Clic hosts an online forum which creates a safe space for people to chat about how they’re feeling and connect with others. It’s also home to a wealth of mental health information, tools, tips and resources to signpost people struggling with their mental health to key services in their local community.

To ensure Clic is secure and confidential, promoting recovery and protecting the safety of its users, the site is monitored 24 hours a day.

Mark Winstanley, Chief Executive of Rethink Mental Illness said:

“Aside from the terrible risk to life, coronavirus has quickly become of the most dangerous threats to the nation’s mental health we have ever faced – despite what the heroes in the health and social care workforce are doing. This survey reinforces the reality that because of the crisis people simply can’t access what they could before and so we need the whole mental health sector to step in to help people whose problems are escalating and are becoming isolated and remote.”

Brian Dow, Chief Executive of Mental Health UK

“Clic is the first UK wide online community of people who have already experienced mental ill health, helping others who are struggling with theirs - launching at a time where demand for support has never been higher. By providing this service, we hope to support thousands of people through the Covid-19 crisis, reducing the burden on our healthcare system by providing easy access to mental health advice and information.”

For 24 hour mental health support, visit Clic at: www.clic-uk.org

Rethink Mental Illness’ survey will continue to monitor people’s experience with their mental health over the coming months. To complete the survey, visit https://www.rethink.org/cv19survey

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