Recognising our Mental Health Services28th January 2021
The efforts of the NHS to physically combat the spread of coronavirus have been nothing short of outstanding. However, there are aspects of the NHS that have been dealing with the impact of the pandemic in other ways, namely those that go the extra mile to support our mental health services.
NHS mental health services across the country have increased in demand since the pandemic began. Lockdown has meant financial pressures and raising unemployment issues have made things incredibly difficult, leaving many people struggling.
A survey carried out by the mental health charity Mind revealed the scale of the impact of the pandemic on people with mental health problems. Two out of three adults over 25 and three-quarters of young people aged 13-24 with an existing mental health problem reported worse mental health. More than one in five adults with no previous experience of poor mental health say that their mental health has now deteriorated.
Services across the country have responded to this crisis, implementing emergency measures to reach as many people in need as possible. In a recent report, the NHS Confederation found that providers of mental healthcare moved quickly and responded effectively to protect patients and adapt their services at the start of the pandemic. This was executed by setting up 24/7 crisis phonelines and implementing digitally focused approaches, increasing accessibility for those who have required support. Counselling services were also modified, taking on additional staff members and adapting sessions via telephone or online.
Individual staff members and volunteers have then gone above and beyond in their line of duty, ensuring services are delivered to the highest standard possible. Balraj Basra, our 2020 Leadership Award Winner, works within a Medium Secure Forensic Men’s Unit at the West London NHS Trust. This functions as a rehabilitation unit for those with mental disorders, providing diverse treatment and care for those in need. In his unparalleled commitment, which goes far beyond his dedication to his own role, Balraj takes time to work alongside individual wards, patients, and support staff to ensure that patients receive the best possible mental health care available to them.
And it’s not just people like Balraj that have stepped up to deliver exceptional service. Registered health nurses in Cumbria have taken the time to create individual support and information packs for patients, ensuring they have bespoke resources, while the Sunderland Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Team have pulled together to gather supplies and provisions for those in need. Small acts of kindness such as these really can make a huge difference.
As we continue to feel the impact of the pandemic, it’s clear that mental health services are now more important than ever. It’s these services, and the staff and volunteers that provide them, that improve our outlook and our day to day lives. For those who continue to support our mental health in times of crisis: thank you.
If you need some support during the pandemic, there are a range of services to choose from. Speak to your GP to assess your options, or if you just need someone to talk to, call the Samaritans on 116 123. You can also access https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs-services/mental-health-services/ for more information on your local NHS mental health services.