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.

Since joining Clic I’ve felt less alone because everyone is supportive of each other. I feel part of a community because the fears that I’ve experienced in my worst times were also experienced by other people on the site.

Joining an online community has been better for me... Sometimes my anxiety was too bad to attend group meetings, socialising can be really overwhelming so being able to leave the website when I’m ready takes a lot of the pressure off me. Knowing that the service is there 24 hours a day is like a safety blanket, I can just go back online when I’m feeling up to it.

– Delilah joined Clic after finding it on the Hafal website

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.

– Brian Dow, Chief Executive of Mental Health UK

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 www.rethink.org

Media enquiries: For further information, please contact Kat Allin, Head of Media, via media@rethink.org or call 0207 840 3138.

The Rethink Mental Illness Survey

A total of 1419 people have responded to the survey since it was launched on April 17th, 2020.

The majority of respondents have been supported by specialist secondary mental health services in the past year and belong to one or more of the categories below.

  • 50% have been supported by Community Mental Health Teams (CMHTs)
  • 8% have been inpatients in the last year
  • 30% claim welfare benefits for a reason related to mental illness
  • 17% care for someone living with a diagnosis of severe mental illness

(These figures do not add up to 100% because people can be members of more than one category).

The survey remains open and Rethink Mental Illness would like to hear from as many people as possible.

About Rethink Mental Illness

No matter how bad things are, we can help people severely affected by mental illness to improve their lives.

We’re Rethink Mental Illness, a leading charity provider of mental health services in England. We support tens of thousands of people through our groups, services and advice and information. And we train employees, employers and members of the public on how best to support someone affected by mental illness. All of this work guides our campaigning for the rights of people with mental illness and their carers.

Working alongside the people we support, we are saving lives. Find out more at www.rethink.org

About Mental Health UK

At Mental Health UK, we connect with people and organisations to provide mental health information, advice and support.

Working across the UK, we bring together over 40 years of expertise from our four national founding charity partners to improve understanding and provide vital care. Individually we are mental health experts in our respective nations. Together we are an even stronger team. Our way of collaborating allows more people across the UK to access support for their own mental health as well as friends, family members and carers.

Living with a mental health condition can affect many aspects of daily life, from your physical health to your home, your work and ability to manage money. Every year we provide thousands of people across the UK with practical advice and information to help understand and manage their mental health.

Find out more at mentalhealth-uk.org

Your donation will make the difference

Just £10 could help pay for a call to our advice and information line, supporting someone living with mental illness who may be feeling in distress during this time.

Donate today